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Let’s take it back to basics – what is PR?

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PR often gets floated around but do you really know what it is you are looking for when you’re looking into PR?

Beginning with the basics, PR stands for public relations. That’s not to be patronising to say that, it’s definitely worth mentioning.

PR has been around for years. It is all to do with protecting reputations – no matter how big or small your company is. You could be a freelancer, consultant or an in-house employee and need a PR presence.

The important thing to remember is that PR can all-encompassing and will no doubt play a vital role in your everyday communications.

What does PR entail?

PR is about designing a communication strategy which helps people understand and support an organisation.

You might want to influence people to think or behave differently but it’s all about ensuring people have adequate knowledge and access to the right information. This could include paid, owned, earned or shared media channels.

When it comes to PR, it’s not just about writing press releases either. It can be, especially if that’s all you want from your PR.

But PR expands to a range of communications – whether social media, video, content marketing, analytics or award-writing.

What you want is for your PR to position you in the correct way – whether that’s through media coverage, social media content or digital remits.

The type of PR you require comes down to you

Are you needing a media relations programme? Social media support, video content – or all of the above?

My advice would be to shop around – search online, speak to people about if they have any recommendations for PR and visit their social pages and websites to get a feel for what it is you need and what type of PR support is right for you.

It could be that you’re looking for a PR agency or you just need freelance or consultancy support. Maybe you’re interested in having a PR professional in-house – it’s entirely up to you.

It might come down to cost or logistics, but do shop around and see what is the best fit for you.

Brief your PR professional

If you think you’ve identified the PR support you need, the next thing is to have a brief in mind as to what it is you want your PR to do for you.

If you want to focus on getting media attention, let your brief reflect that. If you’re more into having social media scheduling or support to ease resources but get your messaging out there to new and existing customers, put that down.

Think about your financial resources

Also, have a budget in mind – if you’re wanting a team of people, your budget needs to reflect that.

If you wanting one-off communications, a retained contract or something else – have all that to hand so you can discuss the needs with your PR professional.

Local or national

Finally, if logistics plays a part in your decision-making, search for the PR which fits your needs. If you want your agency close by for drop-in meetings, factor that in.

If you’re happy to have things done via conference calls, Skype, email and other methods – put that in your brief and have that in mind during your search.

Remember, these are just basic recommendations when it comes to figuring out whether you need PR, what you want it to do for you and what type of support you are after.

Have all of this in mind when looking into PR. There are some fantastic PR professionals out there – it’s up to you to find the best fit for you.

By Hayley Paterson, Account Manager, Faith PR

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