PR – public relations – means many things to many people. But what does it really entail, and what is considered best practice to ensure the best results?
According to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR): “PR is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. PR is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour.”
In other words, every organisation depends on reputation for survival and success. Reputation with everyone: customers, suppliers, employees, investors, journalists, regulators, etc.
Effective PR also gives a competitive edge and helps those organisations manage their reputation by communicating and building good relationships with their stakeholders. Absent or ineffective PR does the exact opposite.
There are many rules for good PR. Here are my top five:
- Define your aims and objectives from the start and make sure you have a PR plan aligned with your marcomms strategy which should mirror your business strategy: they all go hand-in-hand.
- Know your stakeholder audience and target them accordingly.
- Use all the tools at your disposal – including social media – but don’t go overboard: less is more.
- Be proactive and bold! It’s good in PR to have opinions and thought-lead.
- Monitor and measure: return on investment (ROI) is key.
And don’t just take my word for it. Some wise words from Microsoft’s Bill Gates: “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on PR.”
Now that’s the power of PR!