What is PR?
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About Public Relations
The formal practice of what is now commonly referred to as “public relations” dates to the early 20th century. In the relatively brief period leading up to today, public relations has been defined in many different ways, the definition often evolving alongside public relations’ changing roles and technological advances.
The earliest definitions emphasized press agentry and publicity, while more modern definitions incorporate the concepts of “engagement” and “relationship building.” The PRSA National Assembly adopted the following definition in 1982: “Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”
In 2011‒12, PRSA led an international effort to modernize the definition of public relations. PRSA initiated a crowdsourcing campaign and public vote that produced the following definition:
“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
What are key points in this definition?
- Simple and straightforward, this definition focuses on the basic concept of public relations — as a communication process, one that is strategic in nature and emphasizing “mutually beneficial relationships.”
- “Process” is preferable to “management function,” which can evoke ideas of control and top-down, one-way communications.
- “Relationships” relates to public relations’ role in helping to bring together organizations and individuals with their key stakeholders.
- “Publics” is preferable to “stakeholders,” as the former relates to the very “public” nature of public relations, whereas “stakeholders” has connotations of publicly-traded companies.
As a management function, public relations also encompasses the following:
- Anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, attitudes and issues that might impact, for good or ill, the operations and plans of the organization.
- Counseling management at all levels in the organization with regard to policy decisions, courses of action and communication, taking into account their public ramifications and the organization’s social or citizenship responsibilities.
- Researching, conducting and evaluating, on a continuing basis, programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding necessary to the success of an organization’s aims. These may include marketing; financial; fund raising; employee, community or government relations; and other programs.
- Planning and implementing the organization’s efforts to influence or change public policy. Setting objectives, planning, budgeting, recruiting and training staff, developing facilities — in short, managing the resources needed to perform all of the above.
A publicist may perform the following activities, but are not limited to:
- Draft press releases
- Put together an EPK (An electronic press kit)
- Pitch their client to the media- Top reason a publicist is hired!
- Schedule interviews
- Oversee their client’s image (work with a fashion stylist if needed)
- Scan the media for any mentions, both positive and negative
- Manage any social media activity
- Set up photo or video shoots
- Help write speeches, media alerts, biographies, newsletters, blogs etc.,
- Plan events
- Plan press junkets
- Make sure all branding is cohesive
- Manage any crisis
- Manage media training
- Media/Press Relations
How can my business benefit from Public Relations?
Consumers are likely to give credibility to your business when they see it mentioned in the media (uncompensated!) compared to when they see your ads or billboards. Studies show that PR has 7 times more credibility among consumers than advertising.
Publications can place the information that is right up the consumers alley and give them the required information they need. If you are an accountant hoping to generate some new clientele, placing an ad in a teen magazine likely won’t help you. But a well written article smack dab in the middle of the finance section will probably lead you right where you want to be. These target markets are especially vital in businesses that only appeal to a small target market.
A positive image can be created by putting your entire business in the spotlight unlike marketing methods which are unable to do so effectively. The story is the heart of public relations and effective promotion of any business or organization. By crafting and promoting your story through press releases or media promotions, you can not only market your business but also create relationships within your target audience. This can happen through press releases, media relations, and other timely methods.
A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising.
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