The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) states that, “at its core, public relations is about influencing, engaging and building a relationship with key stakeholders across numerous platforms in order to shape and frame the public perception of an organization.” These core principles are standard public relations practices. With functions such as media relations, crisis communications, internal communications, social media, among many more, public relations plays an immense role across a variety of sectors.
With all the curveballs the pandemic has thrown at us, here are five reasons why public relations is critical in 2021:
- Establishing & Strengthening Brand Identity
- Developing Content
- Delivering Third-Party Endorsement
- Crafting a Crisis Communication Plan
- Integrating the Power of Social Media
Establishing & Strengthening Brand Identity
PR has the ability to refine and craft your organization’s brand identity, reinforcing customer recognition that may be lacking or missing. Customers view your brand identity as the personality of your business and a promise of what they can expect from you. With that, it is imperative that your business establishes and maintains a strong, yet memorable, “personality.”
A business with a strong brand identity establishes a consistent look, feel and messaging across all platforms. This includes all paid, earned, shared, and owned media. Brand identity can be identified through creative aspects like colors, fonts, logos, tone of voice, and mission, and it has the ability to generate both credibility and trust among the public.
Working hand-in-hand with brand identity, your brand positioning also determines how your consumers will perceive you as well as what your organization can do to benefit them. Brand positioning is important because it will strengthen your business and allow for differentiation among competitors.
Partnering with a PR agency can lift your brand to new heights by securing high-profile media placements, strategic partnerships, and alignments with respected organizations.
The digital media landscape is an efficient tool that has allowed users and businesses to create and develop a plethora of content. Content creation comes in many forms, whether that is written content such as blogs, or visual content such as videos.
Content creation has the capability to allow businesses and organizations to succeed in a variety of ways. Forbes states that there are 10 reasons why content matters:
- Customers trust you more
- Makes you look like an expert
- You can build a library of content
- Helps SEO
- Attracts new viewers
- Supplement to inbound marketing
- Establishes your brand
- Can increase market share
- Helps inbound lead sourcing
- Drives web views
Content creation is a beneficial tactic that will allow for businesses and organizations to continue growing in a creative matter. With the assistance and guidance from PR professionals, businesses will become enhanced as they develop powerful content.
Delivering Third-Party Endorsement
One of the most important aspects of PR is media relations. When done right, media relations is a mutually beneficial relationship between journalists and public relations professionals that results in:
- Journalists’ access to key thought leaders and valuable industry information as a result of the connections and introductions that PR professionals provide to their clients.
- PR professionals securing media coverage on behalf of their clients and because the content is editorial in nature, in other words, unpaid, in contrast to advertising, the perceived value by the reader is greater, delivering third-party endorsement that is invaluable.
Building and maintaining strong relationships with the media is crucial for PR professionals when representing clients. In addition to reporters and producers, bloggers, influencers, and podcasters are also important relations to be cultivated. PR professionals work intensely to deliver key messages on behalf of their clients.
Crafting a Crisis Communication Plan
There is no better time than 2021 to create or update an organizations’ crisis communication plan, so you can be prepared to weather any future storms.
Companies that had a crisis plan before the global pandemic were able to transition more smoothly to a work from home and maintain ongoing stakeholder communications.
In order to develop a strong crisis plan, you must consider a few different factors such as anticipating potential crisis situations, designating a spokesperson/spokespeople, establishing a crisis team, reacting in a timely matter, and more. To make sure the plan will work properly, rehearse the plan frequently. Lastly, a crisis plan must be revisited and revised to be sure it is responsive to the current state of affairs.
Integrating the Power of Social Media
Over the years, we’ve witnessed social media become a massive powerhouse that allows for two-way dialogue between brands and their constituents. Today, we cannot imagine a personal and professional world without social media in it. With over 3.4 billion people active on social media around the globe, social media is a great way to establish an image and presence of a brand or organization, in addition to garnering immediate feedback from key target audiences.
While social media is constantly changing and evolving, it is also impacting PR. Cision lists five key ways that social media is changing PR:
- Emerging tech trends
- Two-way conversations
- Dizzying News Cycle
- Access to Journalists
The opportunities with social media are endless. From advertising, brand promotions, influencers, to two-way communication with target audiences, social media can unveil important information for organizations.
With the help of PR professionals, businesses can survive the recent challenges by increasing brand awareness, communicating their point of difference, being prepared for future crises, and enhancing content creation.