BLOG: Demystifying the PR process, by Catalyst PR’s MD Johnny Paterson
Over the next three weeks, I’ll be covering one of the key areas of marketing – and possibly one of the most misunderstood – Public Relations.
Today, I’ll explain the real definition of PR and, in particular, commercial PR. Next week, I’ll cover the key points to take into account when you are looking to select a PR Agency that will match with your operation and deliver the results you demand. And finally, I’ll cover what you should expect from your chosen PR Agency.
Equipped with the knowledge from this three-part mini-master class, you’ll be able to really focus on all of the benefits you will reap from selecting the right PR partner for you and your organisation. Perhaps you’ll even consider Catalyst – I hope that you do.
What is proper PR?
A definition of PR is:
The practice of managing the flow of information between an organisation and its target audiences. Public Relations provides an organisation or individual with exposure to their audiences using topics of public or trade interest and news items that do not require direct payment. The aim is often to persuade the public, investors, partners, employees, and other stakeholders to either maintain or indeed react to a change of a certain point of view about the company, its leadership, products or services.
That’s a very traditional definition – and a rather long winded one – however, like most things today, PR is now much more organic and must move with the times and shape itself to prevailing conditions. If a PR agency is unable to do this then it’s a dinosaur. And they died out a long time ago!
This is what we at Catalyst consider to be the 21st century PR approach:
The client (i.e. you) must establish that the agency thoroughly understands your company, your operations and your targets so they will be able to provide you with:
- Clear goal setting and wish lists to enable everyone to agree that they and you are all singing from the same song sheet.
- Relationship building – as simple as a meeting with the press right through to the complex selecting and brokering of a beneficial commercial relationship with a service provider (something that we here at Catalyst excel in).
- Consistent, on-message, positive coverage in all target medias.
- Integrated marketing – making PR organically part of your sales and marketing operation, seamlessly exploiting and blending all PR activities into web site and social media activities, direct mailing, promotional and advertising campaigns and sales initiatives.
- Return on Investment (ROI). If you are gaining zero benefit from your PR activities – then what’s the point? A good PR must be able to demonstrate effectiveness – or in modern parlance – ‘outcomes’. If they are unable to do so, then there are two possible reasons: Firstly, your set objectives are not clear or are off the mark or, secondly, your PR simply cannot work with them, so perhaps it’s time for a change?
It’s a great idea, if you are certain that your objectives are clear, to get your agency or potential agency to either revisit or respond to these. It’s a great clarifying discipline – we all know how quickly markets are changing, it may well be that an existing agency is working to an out of date brief.
Or if you are selecting a new agency – ensure that your objectives reflect your current and future directions
- And finally, Target and Growth achievement – a PR agency should be able to give you a very clear picture of what they can achieve, by when and how they plan to make it work with your product, brand, or service. Non-accountability is not an option with today’s PR’s.
Modern PR is about giving clients extra, beneficial ,and commercially enhancing routes to market – with this definition you can see the outcomes are, or should be, easily demonstrable.
And that’s the service Catalyst delivers to our clients – day in day out. In my next blog post, I’ll be looking at ways in which you can select the perfect PR for you and your operation.
In the meantime,