The Shifting Nature of Public Relations Today, more than ever, PR stands for “Powerful Resonance”
When people hear the term “public relations,” they often think “journalism,” “press releases” or “news articles.” While all of those items are definitely germane, professionals in the business understand how much more far-reaching this pillar of business communication has become over the past few decades.
PR isn’t just about pushing information out through a one-way tunnel to inform the public. It’s about pulling inthe public in order to engage, influence and create conversations. It isn’t just about creating news. It’s about building relationships. And no longer is PR a stand-alone area of expertise. Instead, it has evolved into a fundamental component of marketing that should work in tandem with a company’s advertising, social media strategy, new business efforts, internal communication and more.
The most successful businesses coordinate their marketing and PR efforts to work in close collaboration. Doing so not only increases visibility and consumer awareness of their activities and offerings, it also helps ensure messaging consistency and enhances the organization’s credibility, which drives brand value.
While PR and marketing strategies differ, their goals should match and align with those of the overall company. Operationally, the two disciplines should support each other in order to maximize outcomes. Achieving results begins with an analysis of available communication channels (print, broadcast, social media, online marketing, etc.), the company objectives, and how PR and marketing communication can be synchronized – not by copy-and-paste repetition but, preferably, through complementary messages that augment each other and deliver new insights to the target audience(s).
For example, PR can field industry or consumer surveys and use that data to not only secure media coverage, but also to provide marketing with intelligence for planning, as well as content for advertising, blogs and email campaigns that support lead generation. Likewise, marketing can use results regarding sales, click-throughs and social media posts to inform PR about the types of content, messages and delivery channels that are driving customer response.
Leveraging those channels provides PR professionals with unprecedented “round-the-clock” access to an interested and active audience. At the same time, the resulting 24/7 avalanche of information makes breaking through the clutter tougher than ever. Today’s myriad platforms enable audiences to build their own “connection spectrums” and conduct their own “fact-checking” research. As a result, presenting facts or claims that can’t be validated amounts to little more than propaganda in the eyes of the inevitable skeptics who – for whatever reason – can share negative comments and discredit a company in a matter of minutes. PR professionals, therefore, must adhere to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism to ensure the communications they create on behalf of their organization continue to enhance the brand and not inadvertently damage it.
That’s all the more reason for PR to always be in sync with marketing and company leadership regarding objectives, activities and share-worthy information. By operating with integrity and building on strong foundational relationships both inside and outside their organizations, PR professionals can help ensure the communication of relevant, reliable and effective messaging that resonates powerfully, both short-term and over the long haul.
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