With over 30 years’ experience of working in PR and marketing, we have found that there are still many companies who are confused by the plethora of services offered under the banner of PR.  This is hardly surprising given that whilst the Chartered Institute of PR (the professional body for the ‘industry’) defines public relations as follows;

Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say, and what others say about you.

Public Relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned an sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics

Interpretation of this definition, and how to plan and execute a PR campaign for your own business, can be daunting!  Hopefully the following hints and tips will help.

  • Decide what it is you want to achieve e.g. brand building, driving more traffic to your website, exposure in particular media, increasing enquiries, raising your own profile, engaging with your target market/s
  • List priorities for achieving these goals
  • Is social media important to your business e.g. Twitter, facebook, Linkedin?
  • What current marketing activities do you already engage in? e.g. promotions, exhibiting at trade/consumer shows
  • Do you have the skills/expertise in-house to plan and implement a campaign?
  • Decide whether you are looking for help with a particular project and/or want a sustained campaign
  • List your expectations of the PR agency you employ, goals/timeframe
  • Set a budget
  • Write a brief
  • Look for a PR agency that has experience in your industry/markets/areas of expertise, and establish who would be handling your account if appointed
  • A good relationship with the agency you employ is vital, work with people that you both respect and like. Good communication between agency and client is vital in achieving your objectives
  • Ensure you have regular contact with the agency and that monthly activity reports are issued by them. Meet face to face on a regular basis. Email is great, however what happened to picking up the phone?  So many misunderstandings from hastily sent emails, from both agency and client – after all we are talking ‘communication’ here!