Many people do not understand the difference between advertising and public relations. In advertising, companies pay for exposure. Placement in media is guaranteed, but because the public knows the advertisement has been sponsored, the spot loses credibility. Public relations companies make use of the free media to promote or defend a company or individual. This retains viability because content is delivered without payment through impartial media outlets. Here are some reasons why a public relations firm such as Bayou City PR should be an important part of any business.
Bringing Public Image Into Focus
Public relations experts work with executives to craft the honest, relevant and exciting image that the business wants to project. A favorable image draws consumers and investors, while a tarnished image repels them. Once an image is agreed upon, public relations experts help draw up and manage a campaign to turn it into reality.
Creating Image-Enhancing Outreach Events
Often a company’s sponsorship of charitable events can be a great profile-raising boost to its brand. Helping the local community with its specific problems creates good will and a magnet for local and regional media coverage. Public relations professionals help greatly in arranging and publicizing these events.
Handling Media Relations
As they have often had experience in journalism, public relations specialists know how to make the most of media coverage. From writing and distributing pitches and press releases to helping with speech and copywriting, public relations professionals have the experience and savvy to cause media exposure to enhance a company’s reputation. As they already have relationships with media professionals, they are able to arrange interviews and handle questions in an impartial but positive way.
Maximizing Social Media Presence
Social media on the Internet have provided businesses with opportunities to reach millions of potential customers or clients. You can approach consumers directly through your website, email, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and other venues. Public relations professionals can help with building an online presence using techniques such as search engine optimization, social media networks, content development, guest blogging and online media coverage. Because there is such an abundance of content available online, it is easy to go unnoticed, but with good public relations guidance, your company can shine its light in the midst of obscurity.
Dealing With Emergencies
Sometimes even with the best-organized companies, things do not go as planned. When crises ensue, public relations professionals are crucial in dealing with the emergencies. Every unexpected disaster is unique, but it is how the company deals with it that determines its future credibility. For example, in July of 2013, a Southwest Airlines plane skidded on the runway of LeGuardia Airport. Instead of trying to cover up in any way, Southwest Airlines responded with regular updates to the public. This ameliorated a situation that could have easily gone bad.
In contrast, in 2011 when Bank of America suddenly announced it had decided to charge its debit card holders a $5 monthly fee, a huge public outcry ensued, including an online petition signed by 300,000 people. Instead of engaging with the disgruntled customers, the CEO announced that Bank of America had a right to make a profit. This infuriated the public, causing the loss of many long-term customers.
A clear vision for public relations is a key factor in the positive or negative impact of a company’s image in the eyes of the public.