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    5 Ways to Boost and Improve Public Relations Graphic

    5 Ways to Boost and Improve Public Relations

    The way you and your company relate to the public is crucial to its success. Understanding the need for public relations – and that engaging in public relations is not an option – is a primary factor in the success of many businesses. Understanding there is no uniform general “public” is also not an option. And recognizing that your public relations efforts begin first within the walls of your company is essential. If you are a manufacturer of building products, your knowledge of public relations and its importance can make a difference in your success as a company.

    Here are five suggestions (and two truths) you can implement to make the most of your PR efforts:

    Let’s start with the truths because if you get those wrong, all the other ideas will drift aimlessly and hit or miss haphazardly.

    Truth #1

    There is no general public. Think about it for a minute. How do you describe this group of people or persons? Non-PR professionals often use the term as shorthand for all people, or all people not directly connected to their company. But stand at an open aisle in any Target, Walmart or the bleachers at your local team’s home field and look at all the people you see. Are they the general public? Do they all have the same interest in ANY message delivered through ANY channel? Of course not. They are not general, nor are they a monolithic public. Just as you wouldn’t lump all target audiences into one glob (or shouldn’t), don’t lump anyone who isn’t a company employee into a “general public.”

    There is no uniform “general public”; PR efforts must target specific groups with distinct interests.

    Use what you know about segmenting to identify who wants, needs, or cares about the information you’re going to distribute. Research can help you isolate why those publics want, need or care about your information, but to start, at least identify publics within those three groups. Usually, they are your constituent groups/stakeholders, as those who have a vested interest in your company and can either affect or be affected by your operations and business performance.

    Stakeholders can include current or potential customers, stockholders and investors (if you’re a public company), suppliers and vendors, employees, and local, state or national government entities.

    RELATED: Tips on Outlets to Contact for Your Public Relations Strategies

    When you free yourself from the idea of a general public and think in terms of who wants, needs, or cares about your business, your public relations efforts will start from a focused place and not a fuzzy glob.

    Truth #2

    Your employees are your first, and probably your most important, public. Internal communications/PR comes first. Your business wouldn’t exist without employees—whether that be a large or tiny number—and they are one of your most valuable resources and your biggest advocate—or critic—group.

    The core of a good employee relations program is to keep employees informed and provide them with channels of communication to upper levels of management and vice-versa. A recent Harvard Business Review article looked at internal relations and suggested that, in any change-management effort, good internal communication reduces uncertainty, helps an organization overcome resistance to change, facilitates employee participation, and builds shared understanding and mutual interpretation

    Employees are the most crucial audience for any PR effort, necessitating strong internal communication.

    Internal relations and communication is so key to business success that Harvard Business Publishing even has an educational concentration and publications about it. In a recent publication, “The authors combine theories, research insights, practices, as well as current issues and cases into a comprehensive guide for internal communication managers and organizational leaders on how to communicate effectively with internal stakeholders, build ethical organizational cultures, and engage employees in a rapidly-changing business environment,” reads the HBR summary.

    “The authors summarize the trends and issues transforming the practice of internal communication: digitization, globalization, diversity and inclusion, work-life balance, and a concern for corporate social conscience.”

    RELATED: Building A Successful Public Relations Plan

    Internal PR is a lot more than creating a celebration-by-month calendar and marking employee milestones, although both may be important. And it comes first. Still unsure as to its value and comes-first status? Read this research by Salesforce on how “employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.” And that was before the pandemic. Imagine what it is today.

    Now that we’ve visited two necessary truths, here are five suggestions you can implement to make the most of your PR efforts:

    Identify the Purpose Behind Any PR Effort

    Document the (researched, not gut instinct-ed) reason you’re doing any public relations effort. Seriously, write it down, so that anyone on your team, or who’s charged with making it happen or measuring its success, knows the purpose and goal. If you’re not sure, don’t start anything until you are. Is it a response to a problem or crisis? Or, is it more opportunity based, such as:

    • to create attention, awareness, interest, recognition or recall?
    • to deliver information and understanding?
    • to touch emotions and create a feeling?
    • to modify attitudes, change behavior, create conviction, or influence preference?
    • to authenticate identity or validate associations?
    Identifying the purpose behind PR efforts ensures clarity and focus.

    One of the top benefits of knowing your purpose is to help you isolate what publics you want to reach with your communication.

    Identify Your Areas of Expertise

    Your areas of expertise might be solely oriented to the products you sell, or they could be tied to some type of service. Identify a few key areas of expertise, use your strengths and then deliver focused messages within those realms.

    construction company worker at desk scrolling on computer with yellow hard hat beside him
    Showcasing areas of expertise through various platforms can establish thought leadership.

    Maybe you have a locksmith business and that’s your expertise. You can use that knowledge in videos and podcasts because people who don’t work with locks are often mesmerized by those who understand them. The risk is that potential customers don’t call your business when they lock themselves out, but more likely you establish your knowledge and lock cred in a way that people call you FIRST when they’re locked out. If you’re not the creator of the content, find the outlet that is and offer your expertise, which will give you an opportunity to showcase your knowledge and become a thought leader in your field.

    Practice, Practice, Practice

    Practice different delivery methods of your message. Develop presentations and have articles with your industry-specific advice appear in publications. Speaking opportunities, providing service on a board of directors, and other community activities also provide an ideal method of delivering your message and establishing good public relations. Community engagement and cause-related public relations strengthen the affinity people have for a company that does it, so do it. (If you need more in-depth guidance, call us.)

    Focus on Media Interested in You

    While you want to establish a presence with the media in general, honing your focus to those within the general business sector will yield more tangible results. Don’t forget to also target those media outlets that focus on the trade issues important to your business.

    social media apps on a cell phone
    Targeting media that is interested in your business sector leads to more effective PR outcomes.

    The above suggestions will help you hone a more focused public relations campaign. The result is that your goals will be met more quickly than if you had an unfocused plan. If you’re interested in learning more, ER Marketing develops public relations strategies that get results. Call us to start a conversation.

    Push Less and Collaborate More

    Public relations vary across industries, of course, and PR has evolved quickly with the growth of traditional media’s online publications, online-only publications, and user-generated publishing, including blogs, YouTube and other social media platforms.

    What you need to know about social media marketing
    The evolution of PR emphasizes collaboration across communication functions for integrated strategies.

    In their most optimized form, these communication channels lead to deeper, more integrated, collaboration with other communication functions, such as advertising and marketing. Yes, you’ll need to manage information flow and push content for your company or business, but to build credibility, thought leadership and influence, stay engaged in whatever your company’s other communication functions are trying to accomplish and work together.

    RELATED: 5 Ways to Boost and Improve Public Relations

    The above suggestions will help you maintain and improve a more-focused public relations campaign and your goals will be met more quickly than if you just guessed at how to start and what to do.

    If you’d like more guidance or insights into how to maintain or improve your public relations tactics and strategies, contact ER Marketing and let’s start a conversation.


    FAQs

    Why is understanding public relations crucial for business success?

    Public relations is vital because it helps you relate properly to your audience, recognizing there’s no uniform “public” and beginning your efforts internally within your company are key factors in business success.

    What is the first truth about public relations?

    The first truth is there’s no general public; public relations efforts should start from a focused understanding of distinct groups or stakeholders that have specific interests in your business.

    Who are considered a company’s most important public?

    Employees are the most important public. Effective internal communication and relations are foundational, as employees can be the biggest advocates or critics of a company.

    How should a company identify its publics for PR efforts?

    By segmenting audiences based on who wants, needs, or cares about the information being distributed, utilizing research to understand these motivations among constituent groups or stakeholders.

    What is essential before starting any PR effort?

    Identifying the purpose behind any PR effort is crucial. Documenting the reasons for these efforts ensures clarity and focus, guiding the targeting of specific publics effectively.

    How can a company showcase its expertise?

    By identifying areas of expertise and delivering focused messages through various platforms, such as videos, podcasts, or community engagements, a company can establish thought leadership and credibility.

    About The Author

    Elton Mayfield

    Elton's career spans media, production, digital and building industry expertise. His diverse experience makes him nimble, innovative, and curious – always pushing the envelope to create extraordinary work that delivers real results for our clients.

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