Public relations (PR) is the way organisations, companies and individuals communicate with the public and media. A PR specialist communicates with the target audience directly or indirectly through media with an aim to create and maintain a positive image and create a strong relationship with the audience. Examples include press releases, newsletters, public appearances, etc. as well as utilisation of the world wide web.
In today’s world, publicity is everything of course along quality service or product. There is a fierce competition in just about every sector, while the consumers typically decide for brands they are familiar with and which they trust. In order to earn the consumers’ trust, companies rely heavily on marketing strategists but they also rely heavily on PR specialists.
Unlike marketing which is focused on promotion of the company’s products or service, PR is primarily focused on communication with the public, e.g. the potential buyers and the media. By communicating relevant information about the company and of course its products/service, PR specialists also help in the promotion of the business. But above all, they create a positive public image and establish a relationship with the target audience and media. That way they gradually earn the consumers’ trust which as mentioned earlier, has a major influence on their decisions including the product/service they choose from the many available.
Besides attracting public attention and helping establish a good reputation which directly influences the sales, PR specialists also play an important role in the times of crisis. Imagine that an angry employee or the competition starts to spread unpleasant rumours about your company. The public does not know the story behind and if you do not react, they may think that the rumours are true. And even if they find it hard to believe, they will remember that they have heard something bad about your company.
Now imagine the consumers choosing between a brand from which they have heard only the best and your company. Most of them will not take any chances and choose more respected company instead. And you cannot really blame them because you would probably do the same if you were in their shoes. Therefore it is not a good idea to leave the public wondering about the truth whatever it is and this is where a PR specialist steps in.
In the times of crisis like the situation described above, you need someone who reacts quickly and efficiently to at least minimise the damage. And that someone can only be a person who can think and act fast under pressure as well as communicate well with the public and media – a PR specialist.Utilising PR Services
Large firms typically have their own PR departments. This is without a doubt the best way to utilise PR services because the PR specialists can focus on your needs alone. Having own PR department and keep full time PR specialists, however, is usually too expensive for small to medium sized companies. In order to benefit from PR services without jeopardising their budget, small to medium sized companies can hire a PR firm or freelance PR specialist for a limited time and job.
A PR specialist is usually required to have a relevant type and level of education such as a Bachelor’s degree in communications or journalism. Proper education, however, is not enough to become a PR and much less to become a successful PR. A PR specialist needs certain skills (they are acquired through additional education and training), in the first place excellent writing and verbal communication skills. But a PR specialist also must know to work under pressure and be able to answer a variety of questions including unpleasant ones. For example, if the client is under a public “attack”, a PR specialist needs to establish a control over the situation and protect the client’s good reputation.