What is PR – and why is it important?
COPUS originally started as a pure PR agency, and although since then we have expanded our toolbox to include brand strategy, video and copywriting on social media, PR remains one of our core competencies. As a whole, communication is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business – and public relations (PR) is a huge part of this. In communication and marketing, you typically work with three categories:
“Paid media”: Paid advertising
“Owned media”: Own media
“Earned media”: Media
Who’s recognition you have earned PR belongs to the last category and can be slightly simplified explained as reputational care. PR is about creating good, close and long-lasting relationships with customers and business partners, which ensures that your company achieves good publicity and general goodwill in the media image. The purpose of public relations is simply to strengthen your company's credibility, reputation, and brand value in relation to the outside world.
Create a strong PR strategy with COPUS
Interested in strengthening your company's reputation through public relations? COPUS is ready to help you create a professional and effective PR strategy tailored to your company, products and solutions. Contact COPUS and learn more about how we can help you kick-start your PR efforts.
Take control of your narrative
As a company, credibility, reputation, and brand value are crucial – no matter which industry your company belongs to. Because public relations is earned media, it is necessary to release a part of the control over the material. For example, you're typically not in control of exactly when your story is published, whether the publicity is purely positive, or whether competing brands or companies are involved in the story. In turn, you can take control of other aspects of your story.
With editorial publicity, you gain more credibility and you enhance the reach of your company's messages. An independent editorial team can give your messages greater authenticity and impact – and this is very good for how the outside world perceives your business.
Six tips for a strong PR strategy
Below you will find six elements that should be included in your PR strategy.
1. Include PR in your strategy from the start
When planning your brand strategy, all initiatives – such as social media and video production – must be considered from the start. This also applies to PR. One of the frequent mistakes that companies make when planning campaigns and alike, is to not focus on PR until the campaign is fully developed.
The danger of doing PR near the end is that the focus can easily change to a commercial intent, rather than tying the story together with the rest of the campaign. It can make the story very sender-focused and commercial, and it will cause most media outlets to lose interest in bringing the story.
Therefore, you should always make sure that PR is included in the strategy from the start – and that you work with the story based on the journalistic news criterias.
2. Use the news criteria as a guideline in PR
PR must capture the media's interest. Journalists often work on the classic news criteria AVIS: Relevance, Importance, Identification and Sensation:
- Relevance: How relevant is the story? Is there a particular reason why it should be brought right now?
- Importance: Does the story matter to anyone besides the sender himself? Identification: Can the reader identify with the story?
- Sensation: Is the story fascinating, shocking or "skewed" in any other way?
The more criteria history meets, the more likely the media will bring it. Therefore, it's always a good idea to consider how your story can be angled to meet as many of the news criteria as possible.
3. Stick to the naked truth
It may be tempting to embellish the truth when launching a product or a new and innovative solution. But when it comes to creating a good reputation, you always go furthest with honesty.
If your product or solution cannot live up to what you have promised, it will not be long before your customers point out that the Emperor is not dressed. When this happens, it can have a big negative impact on the company's reputation – and your reputation is exactly what PR aims to strengthen. So always stick to the naked truth.
4. Use all channels for PR
Always be sure to adapt the news to the channel on which it will live. Here it is essential to know which target audience the news is intended for. The different target groups do not get their news from the same source.
For example, figures from Statistics Denmark, show the following:
- Older Danes aged +65 receive their news primarily from television (93%) and printed newspaper (53%)
- 35-64 year olds get their news primarily from TV (78%) and news websites or apps (77%)
- 16-34 year olds get their news primarily from social media (57%) and news websites or apps (57%)
Therefore, when you go out with PR news, you can usefully map the relevant medias and prioritize them according to importance. In this way, you make sure to better reach your target audience, and you avoid using PR resources to bring stories to channels that your target audience does not use.
5. Create a PR plan and stay up to date through media monitoring
You get the most out of PR when your news hits at the right time. Therefore, it is important to prepare a detailed press plan that defines your various PR activities and when to time them.
Here, media monitoring also plays a significant role in PR. Keep an eye on the media and stay up to date on the most important news related to either your business or industry. This way, you are best prepared to be ready with the relevant stories at the best possible time.
6. Prepare for crisis management
Any company can be hit by a crisis. It is therefore always a good idea to make sure that you and your company are well equipped for crisis management, so that you are able to react quickly and regain control in the case of a crisis.
Here are some of the key steps to getting prepared for crisis management:
- Put together a crisis management team
- Make sure you get all the facts on the table
- Get an understanding of your core messages and formulate scenario plans
- Select and train your spokespersons and decide when you stand in the press and when you don't
- Inform stakeholders – e.g. customers, suppliers, etc. – about developments in the crisis
- Choose your response strategy – Has there been an accident, or has anyone committed an atrocity?
- Drop your pride and don't be afraid to apologize. As a starting point, it is never a good idea to play the victim card
- Keep your emotions out of strategy and handling, even though crises often can be a sensitive area
- Monitor the media and crack down on all mistakes so that they do not spread
- Be humble and wait to begin the restoration of your image until stakeholders are ready to forgive you