What Does Public Relations Really Mean ?

The term "public relations" doesn't sound like the most interesting thing to someone who isn't familiar with it. But for those of us who understand the business industry, it's a hot topic that still doesn't seem to be fully understood. There are plenty of misconceptions about what PR is, from free advertising to even, unnecessary. See, what I did there was give you an example of what public relations is not. So what do public relations mean? If you Google it you will find many different websites with many different ideas about what PR is and how to use it. Most of them are great, some of them may be confusing and we are going to break it down together. 

    Let's take it from the top, starting with the people who know public relations best, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Their definition of PR is "influencing, engaging and building a relationship with key stakeholders across a myriad of platforms in order to shape and frame the public perception of an organization" (prsa.org). Now, let's dig a little deeper. The key words here are "building" and "relationship." That's what PR is all about, creating a steady conversation with your audience to build trust that garners beneficial relationships. That sounds nice, doesn't it? Now how do you do it? 

    The first thing you should know about PR is that while it should be a part of your marketing and communication strategy, it is not the same as advertising. It's said that PR is even more effective than advertising because it reaches more people and builds more credibility. There are a few reasons this is true. PR does its work in media and editorial veins. With so many forms of media available to so many people it's imperative that your business makes itself known, or you could end up advertising to the wrong audience and stifling your own growth. Get a conversation started about your service or product and get to know your audience. Doing so will help you get a better understanding of who your customers are which affects how you will want your business to adjust in the future. 

    Conversation and communication are key elements in PR. A good PR strategy will keep your business relevant and in front of the right audience. Unlike advertising, you can't just pay for an ad on t.v. or a magazine and get your message across. PR goes deeper than that. Advertising doesn't open your restaurant on a Sunday because travelers are stuck in the airport (hey, Chick Fil A). And it doesn't bring women to your door, year after year, to pay thousands of dollars for red bottom shoes either 

(Louboutin's for the win). It takes a lot of time and consistency to get your brand that much recognition and positive feedback. Which can be overwhelming and time consuming for business owners who are already trying to juggle twelve other things. 
PR firms have one purpose: "to protect, enhance or build a reputation through the media" (forbes.com). But that one purpose has many different facets that directly affect your business. Our job is to keep people talking about you across strategic forms of media in order to successfully reach your audience with the right voice. The reality is if people aren't talking about you then you're no longer relevant, and irrelevant businesses don't exist. PR firms create strategies for the good times and commit to damage control in the not-so-good-times. Look, no matter how great a business is there are going to be slip-ups. We all remember that Pepsi commercial, the one where Kendall Jenner picks up a Pepsi and suddenly decides to join a protest. So many people had a problem with that commercial and had no problem vocalizing that, but Pepsi dragged it out by failing to apologize in a timely manner bringing more and more backlash. 

    The thing is it doesn't take much to tarnish a good reputation, and with the right PR firm you can make sure that doesn't happen. A good PR firm will get you positive exposure even in times of crises. But there's a difference between a good PR firm and the right PR firm for your business. Leading Lady PR wants to be the right firm. With an owner touting years of experience and determination to give your business the individual attention it requires, you may have found the perfect addition to your team. LLPR knows how to utilize social media and a multitude of other media options to give your business a personalized path to success. We know what PR means and we know how to use it. And now that you know what it means, finding the right firm just got a little bit easier.