It’s not all about the spin or cashing in on the celebrity divorces, public relations, also referred to as PR or media relations, is a great way to promote your business at a time when the UK is trading during times of negative growth. There is no one true definition of PR, but it is essentially communicating key corporate messages using the media as the channel to do so. It also spans from a single press release to a product launch or awards ceremony, and from a regional newspaper to a national TV or radio campaign.
Before seeking any PR assistance, it is worth defining your objectives, key messages, and the target audience which you would like your business to reach, as this will play a large role in determining the direction of your PR programme, and the most effective media channels. This includes the use of social networking, which is now being used as a source of information by journalists. Twitter is useful as a website traffic driver and for making connections with businesses in the same industry, or with the members of the media themselves. It is a peer to peer networking site, whereas Facebook is divided into interest groups, but relies on members approving others before seeing their profile, which is not the case with Twitter where anyone is free to follow any other member.
Relative to the fee, a good and experienced PR consultancy should be able to achieve a higher equivalent advertising spend if the same amount of column inches had been purchased by the client. PR is an essential part of any marketing strategy, but it is an animal that can soon get out of control if not handled correctly. This is where expert advice and assistance can prove invaluable before anything goes ‘public’.
Simon Wittenberg is Managing Director of V12 PR Ltd, a freelance media relations consultancy. Simon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org