What is PR?

Reviewed by Peter Ibbetson of Journolink

Contributor - Peter Ibbetson

Public relations (PR) and press coverage

PR (public relations) encourages customers and journalists to think and speak positively about your business. It improves the reputation of your business and its products, and gives you exposure that you do not need to pay for directly

Business image, reputation and “what people say” are very important. Your prospective customers believe what other people say far more readily than they believe what businesses themselves say.

Think about your own behaviour when buying a product online. As well as reading the product description, you will undoubtedly also check customer testimonials, online reviews and media coverage.

This is PR. It is about getting trusted independent commentators (such as journalists, bloggers and online influencers), as well as customers, to promote your business, your product and your brand.

How can PR help my business?

PR is part of your overall marketing strategy. It covers anything that might influence the opinion that others have of your business, and it sits alongside your website, your brand image and your marketing campaigns.

Advertising, promotions and email marketing are all important, but endorsements by trusted third parties can be even more valuable. This is where PR comes into its own -

experts say that positive third-party comments are three times more effective than advertising in winning customers.

Managed shrewdly, PR is also more cost-effective marketing than advertising.

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How PR works

There are three key components to PR:

  • Distributing effective, newsworthy press releases, to entice journalists, bloggers and broadcasters to give you coverage;
  • Responding to journalists' requests for spokespeople, comments and case studies, providing real-life examples to make their copy interesting;
  • Engaging with conversations on social media, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, or simply by posting a blog.

But it's not just what you say that's important. It's what you do too, and how you act.

Two additional elements that come under PR are therefore:

  1. Your community engagement - how you support your community and recognise the value that your customers bring to you;
  2. Your customer engagement - responding to customer enquiries, testimonials and complaints in a consistent and fair way.
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contributor

Peter Ibbetson

A banker by training; an entrepreneur by heart; a visionary by head. His first career was in banking, rising through a range of roles to Head of Business Banking at NatWest, before trying his hand at a portfolio career. Being enticed back into the RBS Group to represent the SME side of the ban...

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