What is public relations?
Public relations helps an organization and its publics achieve mutual understanding. Good public relations creates an environment that allows an organization to accomplish its goals with public support. At the core of good public relations is good communications.
What can public relations do for me?
The short answer is that positive public relations allows an organization to be successful. A public relations program is tailored to your organization’s needs. If you’re a nonprofit organization, good public relations and good fund raising go hand in hand. If you’re a new business in town, public relations lets potential customers know you’re there. If you’re about to embark on a new business venture that’s bound to ruffle some feathers, public relations helps smooth the way, saving time, money and tempers. Building goodwill through public relations is like making a deposit in the bank. Someday you may have to withdraw from your account, and you don’t want your request to be returned marked “insufficient funds.”
What sorts of services does a public relations agency provide?
Public relations has a variety of arrows in its quiver:
- Research (determining attitudes and behaviors of publics in order to plan activities to influence or change attitudes and behavior)
- Media relations (working with editors, reporters and bloggers to garner publicity or to respond to their interest in an issue or organization)
- Employee relations (informing and motivating an organization’s employees)
- Community relations (participating within a community on projects and events of mutual benefit)
- Public and government affairs (developing effective involvement in public policy and lobbying on behalf of the organization)
- Issues management (identifying and addressing issues of public concern in which an organization is, or should be, involved)
- Financial relations (creating and maintaining investor confidence and building positive relationships with the financial community)
- Industry relations (relating with other firms and trade associations in the organization’s industry)
- Special events and public participation (designing activities and events to stimulate interest in a person, product or organization, and to enable an organization to listen to and interact with publics)
- Development/fund raising (demonstrating a need and encouraging an organization’s members, friends, supporters and others to voluntarily contribute toward it)
- Counseling (perhaps the most important public relations function of all, counseling leads to the long-term, long-range planning that allows an organization to anticipate issues, avoid problems, and better serve its publics while achieving its goals)
How do I select a public relations counselor?
You should engage the firm that you feel most comfortable with and that you have confidence in. Ask around. Interview firm principals and see whose skills and experience best match your needs. Trust your instincts.