Whenever I get asked the question, ‘So what do you do for a living?’ I often wonder what to say, as whether I say Public Relations or PR, people never seem to know what I mean. Half the time, they try to pretend that they know what I do, or I just get a blank stare. I have often been mistaken for a PA (personal assistant)… which is another ball game entirely! Other people often think I’m a journalist or work in marketing, which I guess is halfway there, so I’ll take it. I still don’t think my friends and family still fully understand my job, but hey ho! A little bit of mystery makes it all the more exciting.
So, for this insight blog, I wanted to try and explain a bit more about what PR is and give you an insight into what our jobs are all about and the different types of PR that could work for your business.
What is PR?
Taking things right back to basics, PR stands for public relations; which simply encompasses the communication between brands/companies, organisations or individual people and the public and how they build up a good image and reputation.
There is in-house PR (which is when companies hire a member of staff internally to look after their public relations activity) and agency PR (where companies outsource this activity to a team within an agency that has multiple clients).
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Yeti gang, we here at 10 Yetis are part of a digital PR agency. Working in an agency means that we work with variety of brands within lots of different sectors. Agencies sometimes offer more than just PR as a service, and although we specialise in PR for SEO and link building campaigns, we also provide social media, video, web, design and content and influencer outreach services. Agencies will typically have excellent media relations across a variety of sectors, which allows them to get the coverage brands might be looking for in the publications they desire.
The benefits of working with an agency is that they will have great relationships with journalists and the experience needed to come up with strong ideas to get your brand the attention you’re after. They’ll also typically have all of the software needed for an effective campaign and measuring results, such as media databases for journalists’ contact details and a cuttings or media monitoring service that will track coverage achieved.
Some companies might decide to deal with their PR in-house rather than through an agency. This is where they will employ their own dedicated team to deal with the company’s public relations activity.
In some cases, in-house teams and PR agencies work together on bigger campaigns; for example, if there’s a new product release, launch campaign or special event.
Different types of PR
There are different types of PR, depending on what it is that you are looking for. Some campaigns incorporate several different types and tactics, but here I have compiled a list of what they are and what they involve:
If you have launched a new product, PR is the perfect way to get the word out about it. With products, the best approach is to send samples to journalists to try out and review (or give them access if it isn’t a tangible item, such as software). The idea here is that journalists can include the product in round-ups, compile a review or feature it in an article and it’s always better for them to try the product out for themselves rather than just having them rely on a photo and description. The time of the year can be important for product PR too, especially if it fits into gift guides around Christmas, Mother’s/Father’s Day, Valentine’s, etc. It is important for a PR team (both in-house and agency) to know the product inside out, so that they have the best chance of pitching the item to journalists, whether that be over the phone, by email or in person.
PR doesn’t always just involve representing a brand or a product; it can also involve representing a person. Celebrities, influencers, singers and other members of the rich and famous are usually always managed by a talent agency or publicist. Personal PR involves raising the profile of an individual; by getting them on TV or news programmes, securing interviews for them in print or online or even helping to build their profile across social media.
Personal PR can work just as well for entrepreneurs, experts and professionals as it does for celebrities; they are influencers in their own right and there is high demand from journalists for expert commentary, advice led pieces and simply profiling business owners through Q&A style features or ‘day in the life of’ slots.
If you are a start-up and want everyone to know about your new business, a PR team can help to get you in the right business pages/magazines and other publications, such as national newspapers, that are the right fit for your business; with a readership that is the perfect match for your target demographic.
If your start-up has certain USPs or is particularly innovative, it’s generally easier to get coverage for your business in its own right. Otherwise, start-up PR might involve some extra activity, such as a stunt or creative campaign, to help your business stand out in a competitive market.
Digital PR/PR for SEO
In more recent years, digital PR has taken centre stage of the industry. More companies than ever are looking for help with their link building efforts, and are increasingly less interested and focused on the amount of print coverage generated, no matter how impressive it might seem. Digital PR is a way to increase a business’ online presence through securing high quality back links within pieces of digital media coverage, to improve SEO.
For those out there still a little confused on the meaning of SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is the process of growing the amount of traffic going to a website through securing follow links on high domain authority external sites. The aim is to get your website to rank as highly as possible in a search engine’s organic results section. By using a PR company, like 10 Yetis Digital, that specialises in this, we can create great link building campaigns, in the form of press releases, stunts, widgets or microsites that will appeal to as many online journalists as possible. The more links included from websites that have a strong, trustworthy authority, the better your SEO will become.
I would go into more detail on the subject, but my good friend and colleague Calum has already done the leg work. Be sure to check out his insight blog 'How an SEO Link Building Company can help your business'. It took him about 5 months to write so he’d appreciate it and so would I so I don’t have to sit and explain it in more detail!
Often, PR can get your client or brand noticed on TV and radio. Depending on the industry you’re operating within, there is always news circulating that would be worth commenting on. As a PR agency, we always try to keep up to date with breaking and emerging news across all sectors, so we know what is going on 99.9% of the time. A good way for a quick broadcast win is to draft and circulate an industry reactive comment. If you give your opinion and position yourself as the expert in a field then broadcast journalists could want to talk to you in relation to the topic or story. This could be for either TV or radio and can very quickly get your word out nationally or even globally subject to the publication.
Over the years there has been much speculation surrounding the topic of whether print media is dying out or not. More recently, many print publications have either shut down completely or migrated over to digital platforms. However, we regard print coverage an extremely important asset in the PR world. Seeing your product, name or brand mentioned in a national newspaper or magazine really does feel great for both client and PR. As PR’s have the relationships with the media it is very easy to get stories featured in print and is basically like free advertising depending on what the journalist is looking for. Whilst print cannot lead to links, it is still great to have a hard copy of coverage in a high circulation publication and can lead to new audiences and ROI in terms of sales, sign-ups, and brand awareness.
On some occasions, an organisation or person might face a public backlash that can affect the overall reputation of a brand. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that any PR is good PR and if the media are talking about you then you’ve won. However, it is our job to turn that bad press into good and create a positive story out of something potentially bad. This can often mean distraction stories to override the negative so it eventually is forgotten. Bad press can really jeopardise a brand so whilst it is obviously of key importance to steer away from any potential crises’, at least you have PR agencies at hand to deal with these kinds of situations, should they ever arise.
So I think I have just about covered everything and I hope this insight blog has been beneficial for your knowledge on PR. At least now, if you ever meet one of us, you know that we are far from a PA. Our jobs are a lot more technical and involve a lot more than you think. At least that’s what we like to tell ourselves! Need PR? We’re here for ya!