What does a PR consultant do?
In the many years that I’ve worked with companies to develop public relations plans, the number one misperception regarding PR is that it is a simple set of activities that can be done quickly, like creating one widget after another from the same die.
Just as each owner of a company, entrepreneur or executive in a corporation is an individual, so is each firm’s public relations plan. Many clients perceive that PR is fast, simple, cheap and easy. Not true. There is no cookie cutter way to implement public relations. However, there are common activities for all clients. PR done correctly these tasks are time-intensive and require one-to-one approaches.
So, just what exactly is Public Relations? Is it sending press releases to media contacts? Staging attention grabbing activities at major public gathering points? Sending product samples to celebrities?
What is Public Relations?
Public relations is the on-going, continuous building of a wave of conversation and information in the public realm or segment. Public relations, as the name says, is the development of relationships with the many audiences of an enterprise. Public relations is cumulative, long-term and carries different perceptions as opposed to advertising, which I believe PR must support. Public relations creates an environment which makes sales and marketing activities successful. In many respects, public relations is the fertilizer for the seeds sown by advertising, sales and marketing activities.
I counsel and support my clients as they seek to:
- Be authoritative (speak about issues, teach, present, comment)
- Be alert to opportunity; Make the news
- Look for trends and comment on them; Be visible in the news
- Have a blog and post weekly
- Seek out and communicate with bloggers, forums and others talking about subjects of interest to your consumers
- Have whitepapers on the company website so the company is positioned with authority.
- Conduct webinars
- Take polls and announce the results
- Post all news releases on the company website
- Post all news releases on searchable sites and make sure your news is in a syndicated feed
- Post information about the company in contributed articles on sites that accept contributed articles
Specifically, public relations activities can be organized into 5 discrete sets of activities:
- Media relations activity
- Media releases
- Creation of media materials (formerly called press kit)
- Creation of storylines and pitches to gain publicity
- Contributed articles
- Creation of white papers
- Responding to media / journalist’s queries for experts
- Coaching regarding on how to be interviewed
- Media releases
- Conversation origination, participation and relationship building
- Bulletin Boards
- Special events
- Media events (such as photo opps or interesting attention getting activities)
- Customer focused events
- Product Launches
- Grand openings
- Expos/Trade shows
- Conferences development, planning and organization
- Development of Speaking engagements/Speaker’s Bureau
- Reputation management
- Being ready with talking points on potential issues with regard to a company
- Keeping management apprised of issues that might effect their company
- Coaching management on how to conduct interviews
- Crisis communications
In addition, your PR consultant should assist you and your firm by creating messages, to communication touch points. A PR pro helps you learn to stay on message and keep all messages aligned to support long-term goals.
Many entrepreneurs and companies conduct their own public relations activities, however, as an entrepreneur, it is hard to develop a company and stay focused on the specifics of your PR plan.
For those who need support, we recommend you consult a communications professional to develop plans, as well as coach and guide the firm to the plan’s implementation. It’s worth your time, money and energy to plan wisely and work with a professional.