Public Relations 101

I’ve been preparing a seminar for our clients who want to know more about Public Relations. I always like to start with the definition – Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.

In other words, it’s how an organization talks to its stakeholders, which can include:

  • Shareholders
  • Employees
  • Neighboring businesses
  • General public
  • Just about anyone who can affect or be affected by your organization

Just like with social media where people can agree that posting and tweeting is important, they also know that communicating to their stakeholders is important. Where we seem to get stumped is in what to communicate. We run out of things to share. However, every day there are things happening in your business that others would be interested to know. Here are some examples to help get you started:

  • Winning an award
  • New product or service
  • Recognizing an employee for providing exceptional customer service
  • Merger or acquisition
  • Appointment to a non-profit, professional or civic board
  • Landing a new client
  • Moving your office
  • Hiring a new employee
  • Getting published
  • Announcing a speaking engagement

If you want others to know about your organization, you cannot be shy in spreading your good news. But, some people struggle to understand how that distribution occurs. Here are some ways to share your press releases:

  1. Hire a PR agency.
  2. Work with a press release distribution service.
  3. Do it yourself.

If you choose to do it yourself you need to plan.

  • Make a list of the news outlets who you think would be interested.
  • Find out the proper contact at each news outlet.
  • Always email your press release to a specific person – never to a generic email address.
  • Send your press release to newswire services.
  • Don’t forget to post it to your social media network and blog.

It can be very helpful to develop the relationships with the media that will come in handy when you have news to share. Build the relationships BEFORE you need them. Find out how they like to receive information, identify any preferences or areas of interest they may have, offer to be a resource to them on topics that you have expertise in and be willing to make comments for publication when it can help them craft a story.

Public relations can be earned or it can be paid. Paid public relations is based on paying for newspaper space, radio time or a television ad. If you want earned media make sure that your press releases are written for the benefit of those who will read them. Try to think like a reporter – is your release interesting? Is it unique and worth reading? Or, is it self-serving? If so, you can count on it not being published.

Don’t forget to actively monitor the internet. Set Google or TalkWalker Alerts and check out socialmention.com. If something is being said about your organization, you want to be aware of it and respond appropriately. It can also be helpful to make sure that your customer service department understands the importance of online complaints and/or compliments and how to respond to them in a professional manner. www.multi-craft.com

About Debbie Simpson

President of Multi-Craft in Newport, Kentucky.
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