Public relations: provide companies with a competitive advantage

Public relations is defined as the interaction between a company and its customer base and potential customers. This interaction can take many forms, including activities such as trade shows, marketing promotions, customer relationship initiatives, and other such activities where companies interact with the public.

Many large companies have specialized interactive investor relations departments.

Key points

  • A strong press release should contain all relevant facts, be concise, have no spelling errors, have correct grammar, reflect the business well and attract the attention and interest of the recipient.
  • Professional public relations consultants and acting account managers usually also have contacts in the media.
  • In many ways, public relations is the connection between a company and its customer base and potential customers.

Is public relations the new marketing?

Public relations is also an all-encompassing term, which disseminates newsworthy information to the media (niche magazines and industry periodicals, newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet) for publicity.

In order to maximize the sales potential of any business, no matter how big or small, the public relations plan should be part of the overall marketing plan. Marketing is an important part of large sustainable companies. Generally speaking, but not always, public relations may be cheaper than advertising and are best used as a supplement to marketing efforts.

Advertising costs and public relations plans

Advertising costs usually include copywriting, art and/or photography creation fees, model fees, and additional costs accumulated before the purchase of media (printing, radio (television, radio, etc.), Internet, billboards or other expenses).

In contrast, public relations programs (albeit at a lower cost) can have a significant impact on established and potential customers of a company’s goods and services. Effective public relations can increase sales, have a competitive advantage over commercial rivals, and ultimately increase profitability.

No matter what the company sells—goods, services, or both—a wise public and media relations program can be very rewarding and does not necessarily require a large budget.

But another aspect of public relations is equally important. When a company has problems, such as product recalls, major product liability lawsuits, bankruptcies, or other potentially disruptive situations, an effective public relations plan can minimize or even eliminate negative impacts. In these situations, public relations is often referred to as “crisis management.”

Reflecting the importance of public relations as a marketing tool equivalent to traditional advertising is the recent trend of major advertising companies acquiring global public relations companies or establishing full-service public relations departments within their agencies.

What can be achieved by effective public relations

Here are some positive results of successful public relations departments:

  • Attract attention to the company and increase its visibility in the highly competitive market segment
  • Stimulate interest and enthusiasm for company goods or services
  • Create a “buzz” in the form of new product or service trends on social media or social circles
  • Enhance corporate credibility and corporate image
  • Resolve crises when they occur and minimize their potential damage

Public relations and advocacy

Newsworthy public relations events or events may be promoted by the company. But the incident or incident must be notified to the media. This is usually done by sending press releases or press releases (the terms are interchangeable) to the media where the information is intended to appear.

Newsworthy events may include:

  • Launch a new product or service
  • Promotion or retirement of executives
  • Opening or closing of manufacturing plants or retail stores
  • Acquisition or sale of subsidiaries or new companies
  • The company fully or partially sponsors charitable events or fundraising events
  • Funded college or university scholarships
  • Demonstrate new, complex products (for example, mobile phones with new applications)
  • Provide free services for the elderly, children, veterans or any special group of people to build traffic and introduce potential customers to the company
  • Competitions related to specific businesses
  • Special events related to a particular business (for example, a bookstore might host a public reading with a new book by a famous writer)

Regardless of the business, innovative public relations activities can be used to attract media attention to the company.

What won’t get publicized

Sales activities are not public relations activities and are unlikely to receive media exposure.

No matter how the promotional activities are promoted-clearance sales, big sales, bankruptcy promotions, rent-loss promotions, etc., it is best to advertise them, because in most cases, editors will not treat these as news reports.

Write a press release and contact the media

Press releases describing planned public relations activities may be written internally by ordinary business employees. You can hire a public relations consultant or agency to provide this service.

If the press release is written by an external public relations consultant or agency, a competitive offer may be solicited from multiple sources. There are several advantages to hiring an external consultant or agency to handle news releases.

Where the press release goes

Once the release is written, determine in advance where it should be sent. Call the target media and obtain the name, email address, and phone number of the editor who will send the article to.

Business-related stories, such as the promotion of executives, the launch of new products, the opening of new stores, or any similar business-related events, should be sent to the business editor.

Stories not related to business, such as sponsoring charity events or competitions, should be sent to city editors or feature editors. There are editors with similar functions on all media (including Internet sites). According to the above-mentioned standards, release information should be sent via the U.S. Postal Service and e-mail as a backup.

Crisis management

Sometimes, the company will have problems. Serious issues such as product recalls, product liability lawsuits, strikes, government shutdowns or bankruptcies may damage the image of the affected companies.

Public relations experts who deal with such issues are also called crisis managers. When something goes wrong, the crisis management team may take the following actions:

  • Speak to the media and the public as soon as possible, do not obstruct the facts or delay the disclosure
  • Treat the media and the public with complete honesty
  • If necessary, please hire a competent legal adviser

Bottom line

Companies that understand the principles of public relations and use them regularly may have a competitive advantage over competitors that are not well-versed in public relations.

The beneficial results of strategic public relations include increased sales, increased customer traffic, constant “buzz” or talk about the company that is often actively mentioned in the media, and a shining image in the eyes of customers and potential customers.

There are many other aspects, complexities, and subtleties in public relations. This article aims to introduce the art and craft of public relations, and many useful additional materials are widely available.


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