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Posted on 31 January 2023 by Ceris Burns
We often hear “press release” and “PR” used interchangeably – as if the purpose of public relations begins and ends with the press release. In fact, public relations is much more strategic – helping businesses shape their identity, build trust, raise their reputation, tell powerful stories and change behaviours.
An important communication tool, the press release is just one of many in the public relations toolbox. It is used to share news and key facts with journalists about a new product or service, appointments, developments within the business, or an upcoming event, and more.
In fact, public relations encompasses many different services. One day, this might involve producing social media content, the next it could be helping businesses fine-tune their brand values, talking to the media and putting spokespeople forward for comment.
Five other common misconceptions about PR include:
Both help to promote a brand, but the best way to explain the difference is selling versus communicating. Advertising involves paid for space, with the aim of selling a product or service, whilst PR is focused on making a brand desirable by building relationships with key audiences.
Although PR can help lead to sales, its main purpose is to generate brand awareness and credibility by building relationships. A sales and marketing strategy must be in place to capitalise on any PR successes, otherwise sales are not likely to happen.
The key to brand awareness is consistency which takes time to build up in a well-planned campaign. One piece of stand-out press coverage, though valuable, won’t keep you on your target market’s minds forever. An ongoing, structured campaign which incorporates multiple elements including social media, blogging and SEO will help keep you front of mind for the long-term.
It’s widely claimed that all publicity is good publicity, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Bad press can seriously damage a business’ reputation and hurt sales in the long run.
Some businesses may opt to handle their own PR, thinking it’s easy, as all there is to do is write a few press releases. However, there is a lot more to it. A PR campaign involves effective communication, creating a consistent brand, developing a sound strategy, knowing your industry inside out, how to handle a crisis situation, researching and producing informative content, and building up good relationships with the media.
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