Public relations (or PR) is a marketing tool that is used to connect a company or a person (if it’s personal PR) to its target audience and essentially influence them.
If you’re using or looking for PR support, regardless of your objectives, which could be to drive traffic to your website, help increase sales or increase visibility of your brand, public relations can engage and influence people so that the aims can be achieved.
So, how can public relations influence people?
- Consistent exposure. Being in front of an audience in different ways – e.g. coverage on news websites, through influencers or speaker platforms – will give your target audience a consistent stream of exposure to your brand, what it is you’re doing / offering and to ensure you’re front of mind. Other marketing activities such as social media, paid search or advertising can also help generate visibility.
- Third party endorsement. If a credible third party, like a popular media outlet, influencer or speaker platform endorses you or your company in a positive way, then this will help you to build trust with your target audience. One of the key aims of public relations is to achieve third party endorsement where possible as it helps to improve a brand’s credibility, since it has come through another impartial, voice.
- Messaging. A PR agency will advise brands about its messaging and what should be communicated, so that its target audience can understand what the company is about and what it’s offering. This messaging will be communicated through various channels and the type of messages that are used can help to engineer brand positioning, even in the sense of how it’s described, which again can influence people. As well as messaging, the kinds of places a brand is being featured by can help with how its audience perceives it – perhaps it has been endorsed by an influencer or media outlet that’s edgy or luxurious? This will help towards creating the desired reputation.
- By giving the brand a personality. Carefully delivered brand exposure, third party endorsement and messaging, can help to craft a personality around a brand or a person in the public eye – one that its target audience can associate with, relate to and trust. Also a brand personality will help it to attract the right kinds of people who fit with its values.
- Slick comms. By ensuring that all communications is delivered well will also build trust and influence people. This could be at the very basic level of day-to-day communications right up to dealing with a public issue or crisis. People and brands are not only defined by what they say, but what they do. Having someone as the public face of a company can also help to give the business an identity, and if delivered well, can help to influence people.
Overall, public relations can greatly influence the public’s perception of a brand or person, which is why people can distrust it and there have been negative associations with the practice of PR. However, if communications can be delivered effectively in today’s media landscape, while giving as much of the right information as possible and ensuring it stays transparent – then it can be influential in a very positive way.
To learn a bit more about what PR can do for your business, it’s worth reading the best-selling ‘Myths of PR’ by our founder, Rich Leigh.
If you want to know more about how we could help you, please get in touch!