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Many people really don’t know exactly what a Public Relations firm does. The common answer is “write press releases,” but I can guarantee you public relations firms do not sit around all day and just write press releases (or at least good ones). So what, exactly, do we do?

As defined by the Public Relations Society of America, Public Relations is all of 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.”

That’s all well and good but HOW do we do all of this?

A good public relations firm will leverage its relationships and networks to gain a client exposure through all avenues available in free media; which includes the writing of press releases, pitches and speeches.

It will assist clients with promotional campaigns, media interviews, and help mitigate damages in a company crisis.

It utilizes social media as a means to help craft your company’s personality and gain exposure to your existing audience, as well as to penetrate their networks.

It assists clients with content writing, from something as simple as a compelling product description, to something as complex as an in-depth article for publication.

And, most importantly, it will craft compelling stories and use them to get your company maximum attention by leveraging influencers and their media contacts. There are many public relations firms in existence and you should be careful when selecting one. Make sure that they are in tune with your industry and “get” your company voice….

Oh, and do more than just write press releases.

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Tags: content, definition, interviews, manage, media, pr, press, promotions, public, relations, More…release, social, writing

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Comment by Alexander Lau on May 15, 2013 at 6:47am

It better just drive and produce results (plenty of metrics to be measured), if you're paying one, otherwise dump your current provider and find a new one. And as far as I'm concerned, don't pay traditional PR firms anything. You can easily find user-generated content / crowd sourced content at the likes of iWriter, TextBroker, etc. Wake up automotive dealers!

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