What Is Public Relations?
As a PR agent, I am asked most often “what does a PR agent do?” Ironically, the public relations industry is terrible at public relations.
Dictionary.com says (read in a robot voice): “the state of the relationship between the public and a company or other organization or a famous person.” State of the relationship? Did anyone else imagine the “it’s complicated” emoji?
PR is the art and science of persuasion. My job is to convince people to purchase my client’s products and services. Most of my clients are small businesses, so my educator role is equally important.
How Do You Persuade The Public?
Storytelling is the bedrock of PR. I don’t mean short stories. Storytelling is gathering your company’s background, history, current, and future goals. An agent will use that to produce narratives to shape a brand that appeals to the public.
PR agents customize stories to match the interests of each target audience. For example, if my client sells fair trade beach wear, I would focus on ethical sourcing when I reach out to a fair trade blog. But, if I’m pitching a fashion influencer, I would emphasize summer trends. PR agents craft messages for all of the audiences that a company works with, not just the media and customers. We manage communications with suppliers, vendors, competitors, complimentary companies, and professional organizations, to name a few.
How Do PR Agents Tell Stories?
Draft press releases
Curate special events
Expand business contacts via networking
Create collaboration opportunities
Build social network content
Reach out to influencers
Write blog posts
Manage crisis communication
2. Lots of Storytelling
Every company wants to be the company in their industry. Views and Clicks matter.
True story: A couple months ago, “Peloton” kept popping up in my social feeds. I had no idea what it was or how to pronounce it (still don’t know how to pronounce it). A week later, a protein powder ad at Costco said it was the perfect post-Peloton meal. Because of the number of times Peloton crossed my path, I’m convinced Peloton is the go-to exercise bike.
Here’s a common concern I hear from business owners who do their own PR: “Aren’t people tired of me constantly talking about myself?”
No. For 2 Reasons.
First, most people only see a fraction of your posts, and some people you assume have seen them, haven’t!
Second, people understand the entrepreneurial hustle. In the off chance that someone is tired of you, they can continue scrolling or unfollow you. If you’re still concerned, hiring a PR agent guarantees that they must talk about you all the time, so you don’t have to.
True story: Two years after my book was published and I wrapped up my book tour, I stopped posting for a couple of months. I was tired of talking about it, and I assumed my audience was tired of listening. When I did eventually post about my book on IG, 5 people who I had other interactions with on social media, said they had no idea I wrote a book, and bought it immediately. I was shocked!
3. Reach Your Audience
Drafting your story is a lot of work. But the real hard work is reaching your audience. How do you stand out in the fray? PR agents not only brand your company, we also make sure you are visible.
By knowing which journalists, bloggers, influencers, podcasters, Youtubers, radio hosts, conference hosts, etc. to contact. And knowing how to make the most effective pitch. PR agents use SEO, SEM, hashtag science (it really is a science), keywords, messaging, graphic design, music, and other tools to organically boost your content. We’re also constantly A/B testing to attract new customers.
Toughest Part of PR
I’ve been at PR for a while, and the toughest part of my job is measuring impact. Obvious metrics such as sales, social media engagement and followers, media mentions, etc. are important, but virtually impossible to trace back directly to PR. My clients tell me their sales, Likes, and Follows increase at a higher rate when they engage in PR.
Triple M (MJ’s Media Message) delivers PR tips and tools for small businesses and new PR agents. If you enjoyed this post, please like, comment, and share it. Thanks!
MJV Communications is a freelance PR agency in Scottsdale, AZ. Contact us today to discuss your PR needs. firstname.lastname@example.org.