How PR works (continued)

18 Aug

So you want some publicity for your product or company (or to boost the vanity of your boss)? Then think up a controversial news angle and support it with the semblance of research. (Think of the headline and work backwards from there. Be sure to build in some searchable keywords). Here's a masterclass:

    76% Of Businesses Do Not Understand What PR Is

The owner of pr2go, the online PR business has criticised practitioners for failing to communicate what the discipline entailed after discovering that 76 per cent of businesses didn’t understand what public relations was.

James Hobday, CEO of pr2go, said that the statistics had come to light as part of ongoing marketing activity for the business. The online service stripped back the PR discipline to its most basic form, offering businesses and agencies the opportunity to access affordable PR.

The service, which sees a team of journalists with experience across a broad range of sectors prepare press information and distribute it on behalf of our clients for a flat fee, has proved a big success, both with businesses wanting localised PR but also with marketing agencies wanting to add value and offer the service to their clients.

“We’ve implemented a fairly aggressive marketing campaign to raise awareness and generate business, and the thing that has appalled me is the lack of understanding of what PR really is,” said James.

“To date, 76 per cent of people we’ve spoken to have not understood what PR is. We’re not talking your average man in the street here, we’re talking marketing managers and directors of large businesses with multiple regional sites needing localised PR.

“We spoke to more than 500 business people seeking to raise the profile of their company across the UK, and their definition of PR varied from telesales to mail-shots. Very few of them understood that it involved the use of online, broadcast and print media to get their key messages and stories across,” he said.

“It concerns me as it is such a massive industry and for those incorporating PR into their communications strategies to have such a weak understanding of what it means suggests that PR practitioners are missing the mark significantly when it comes to actually demonstrating and justifying their product,” he added.

Via Fresh Business Thinking

That's how to do it. But wait a minute: the people who don't know what PR is thought that it involved telesales and mailshots. The expert assures them it involves the use of 'online, broadcast and print media to get their key messages and stories across'.

Well, up to a point. The use of ex-journalists to create media publicity is, I would have thought, the readily understood part of PR, the tip of the iceberg.

Below the water, you need to know what you're hoping to achieve with the publicity (a strategy); you need to know when to use – and when not to use the media; when to prioritise internal over external communications; how one message aimed at a customer can mean something very different to an employee or a shareholder. You need to know when to listen rather than shout.

In principle, if the legal process involved in buying a house (conveyancing) can be turned into a routine online business, then so can publicity and PR. But just as you most need lawyers in the bad times, so you might need public relations advisers to help you when you really don't want the news out there. That seems to me to be the limiting factor on PR2GO's proposition, not the lack of understanding of PR in business.

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