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The changing nature of PR

What is your definition of PR? In our monthly team meeting here at BlueSky we discussed the various clients we have and what level of PR support we provide them. One interesting question that was raised was do our clients, and do people on the whole get PR? If you asked 10 people how they defined PR I am pretty sure that the vast majority would say it was getting an organisation’s name into the news.

This might be a part of PR but is it really all about that? No! The truth is PR encompasses so much more and we think it’s about time that people understand this. Of course media relations comes in to the PR mix – we work very hard to ensure that our clients are seen as thought leaders in their given field, and that their articles and news releases reach the relevant publications which target their custom base.  But there really is more to PR than this!

Social media is now, more so than ever a key part of the PR mix. The boom in social media and the likes of Twitter, Facebook and blogs have become key channels for an organisation to promote its brand instantaneously.  Social media is not purely about advertising for jobs or products but a way to engage with your target audience and educate them about your industry knowledge.  It is also a means to link everything so that all the channels you are using are pushed out to the audience – your blog if you have one, your website, your Facebook fan page and so on. Whilst the use of social media can result in bad publicity – we only have to look at the Gap’s heavily criticised new logo to see this – all forms of PR can lead to negative views of a particular brand if used incorrectly.  It is also worth noting that social media has allowed businesses to see negative comments and act accordingly and quickly.

So what else does PR involve?  As the lines between PR and marketing become more blurred, the way in which an organisation markets itself – including its website and marketing collateral - also comes under the PR hat. Your company website is one of the first things a potential candidate or client will see when searching for you – the way in which this is viewed in the first few minutes of someone landing on your homepage is key. Far too many businesses fail to realise this – your website says a lot about your business and should be informative   but importantly it should be up-to-date. The same applies to the collateral you are handing out whether this be brochures, newsletter, adverts – these all form your company’s PR message.

Clearly then PR involves so much more than media relations, there are so many channels that can be used to promote a brand that come under the PR umbrella. Anything that explains and tells others – your potential customers - about you is PR.  All too often people assume that getting your name in a national or local publication is the be all and end all of PR but it simply isn’t the case – and we think there needs to be a re-education on the subject of PR.

What’s your definition of PR?

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