Many might think it is simple and easy to place a news story for a client. As simple, perhaps, as asking a neighbor for a cup of sugar. On the other end of the spectrum, society may classify PR as being a publicist and essentially generating buzz for celebrities with public relations campaigns, or covering up a major scandal.
Despite this opinion, PR is not about explaining why your client promoted a certain fraudulent luxury music festival, nor is it about providing a public response on exactly why Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston got divorced – to this day, not even the top PR professionals, including public relations specialists, have an answer to that one.
In reality, PR is so much more than that and entails a much higher level of intelligence, diligence and skill than what is generally perceived – especially when working with tech companies, thought leaders, and handling corporate communication and crisis management.
So, what is PR?
PR is the art of storytelling, the crafted skill and mission of connecting the general public with the inner workings of a client, whether it be creating a unique narrative to advance an announcement or product launch, increasing brand awareness, enhancing one’s reputation through the written word, and everything in between.
PR requires the knowledge of weaving words together to create a fascinating, relatable and thrilling story – when as a matter of fact, the subject matter might not actually be as exciting as Brad and Jen’s roller-coaster relationship.
Engaging a public audience and media that in most cases, lacks familiarity with one’s client, can take on a variety of steps and requires the utmost level of passion, creative thinking, and strategic communication.
Different aspects of public relations include:
- Analyst Relations
- Corporate Communications
- Issues & Crisis Management
- Media Relations
- Executive Profiling
- Reputation Management
- Social Media
- Speaking Engagements
Where are the Steps to a Solid Public Relations Strategy?
Writing a PR strategy plan with specific actionable measures speaking to your campaign is the best way to start off.
Brainstorming with one’s team, especially if you’re working at or with a PR agency, is a great plan of action as well. Gathering insights, swapping creative ideas and talking amongst other PR professionals is perhaps one of the best ways to start building a strong, strategic and media-savvy master plan, as well as creating mutually beneficial relationships.
Crafting press releases or blog posts that summarize the given announcement or public relations campaign, explains what your client is doing and why, and what the impact is on the general public. However, the key here is to write a piece that is interesting and educational, all while simultaneously captivating your audience, drawing them in and leaving them yearning to learn more.
The end goal is to entice your audience, draw them in, and ultimately make them care about your client. Over time, it’s key to show that your client has a perspective that is compelling, unique and is generating a huge influence amongst others.
As noted earlier, PR is storytelling, it’s framing the larger picture and explaining in an artful manner, why is this news? The ability for a public relations professional to take a client announcement and turn it into a beautifully worded, well written and riveting story is the most essential skill when it comes to PR, and sums up exactly what it is we do.
An advantageous way to begin your narrative is by closely following the current news cycle, staying on top of relevant market trends, and knowing why they matter to your PR agency client or business.
Establishing a company as a thought leader in the current news cycle can showcase why they matter, and this all ties back to knowing how to tell the story at hand.
The communication process for any public relations professional can start with thinking, why is your client different?
What do they have to showcase, that other competitors do not? Why is this important?
Writing down the answers to those questions is the best starting point, as it will educate yourself on the factual information, leaving the creativity at hand.
What Does Good PR Illustrate?
PR is about writing a beautifully eloquent story to demonstrate the value your client is adding to the world. For example, a corporate communication strategy requires showcasing what fiscal value is being added, what the long term effects are, and how this relates to public affairs.
While this is by far the largest hurdle in PR, when one finally achieves this, it is as exhilarating as shooting your first goal, landing your first touchdown, or running your fastest marathon.
The feeling of seeing your client placement in the news is thrilling, inspirational and as exciting for public relations professionals as the thought of the Spice Girls making a comeback.
Lastly, what I myself have learned from working in PR, is the incredible attention to detail that is taken, the diehard work ethic, and how much my fellow PR specialists care about the quality of their work. Whether it be a simple Oxford comma, the usage of a particular verb, or the way a story is structured, all of this comes back to delivering a fantastic, illuminating and rousing story.
In the words of Justin Timberlake, “I think people sometimes don’t pay enough attention to what they do. I’ve done well, but the reason is pretty simple: I’ve worked my ass off. The toughest thing a performer can do is make it look as if it comes easy.”
This relates to PR and public relations professionals in the sense that we all work so incredibly hard, yet from the outside perspective, it can look simple, easy, nonchalant, when in reality, writing a PR narrative is one of the most difficult things one can do.