Who honestly knows what PR is, what people in PR do and why it’s even important?
Not four years ago, I myself had very little idea of its necessity. Apart from Malcolm Tucker- Director of Communications in BBC political comedy The Thick of It – running around Whitehall screaming at everyone in sight, I must admit I didn’t have much of an understanding of the term at all.
PR is confusing. Everyone’s heard of it, everyone understands it, but not everyone can define it in a way that fully explains what it is that we do.
There are many definitions of the term Public Relations. The CIPR defines PR as about reputation:
“What you do, what you say, and what others say about you”.
The PRCA defines it as – “a process of mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their publics”.
Both definitions have their pros and cons. Yes, PR is about your reputation, what you do, and what you say, but these definitions barely begin to encapsulate the key aspects of what it means to work in the industry.
Since starting at Liberty PR and attending some seminars run by the PRCA, a new definition has crossed my path, one that I think brings to light a key part of what PR really means:
“PR …works primarily through media relations and other parts of third-party endorsement.”
–T. Morris and S. Goldsworthy
In the modern world of smart phones, Facebook, and Twitter, people often underestimate the power of good communication. And in a world where journalists are receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of press releases a week, it is vital for the modern PR executive to embrace that power of communication to form relationships with their clients’ key target publications.
It is often overlooked that media relations has a key role in PR and is one of the only aspects of the role that we do without competition. While other advertising and media agencies try their hand at writing press releases and generating community engagement, those of us in PR are some of the only people who continue to work with the media, sharing our stories, communicating and forming relationships with them.
Whether it’s trade or consumer newspapers, magazines or websites, we always look to speak with our key contacts regularly to ensure that the content that we share is appropriate, and something of genuine interest to each outlet.
Again, in the current political climate, so many view PR professionals as little Malcolm Tuckers, when in reality we are the complete opposite. We engage with the media; support communities; create campaigns and ideas for our clients to help spread their message to the wider public; and help the public to receive their messages.
Media relations is not only a great way for us to ensure that we continue to produce relevant content for our target publications, but in doing so, is a great way to ensure strong and consistent coverage for our clients.
While we fight against the stream of advertisements and paid-for coverage, media relations, while only one part of a complex industry, truly is one of the most vital aspects of the role.
Need help with your company’s media relations strategy? Email firstname.lastname@example.org