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The big question – what is PR?

When many people think of public relations (PR), they picture Edina and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous or hear spin-doctor spiel – both of which are historical accounts of what PR has once was and are unrepresentative of modern day PR practice.

Do you really understand what PR can do for your business and in fact, what is PR?

Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. Every organisation, no matter how large or small, depends on its reputation for survival and success.

Public relations is the marketing discipline which looks after reputation. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation/businesses and its audiences in various forms.

In today’s competitive market, reputation is a company’s biggest asset. Effective PR can help build, manage and maintain reputation by communicating and building good relationships with all organisation stakeholders. These stakeholders include employees, investors, journalists and regulators who all have an opinion about whether they want to work for/with your company, shop with your company or support the work your company does.

OK, so now you know what PR really is. Sounds great doesn’t it? But how can this be achieved to help your business day-to-day.

Let’s strip all of the theoretical jargon and look at practical ways for you to get the most out of PR and work effectively with your key stakeholders, in particular, the media.


  • What is your campaign objective? Avoid a scattergun approach and stay focused on a few key business objectives.
  • You should have three key messages that run throughout all your communications. What are yours? They should be relevant, concise and consistent.
  • What is the profile of your target audience? What are their habits, where do they go, what do they read online and off? This will determine the communication channel that is right to deliver your message.
  • What is truly newsworthy about your business? Will the media be interested? Don’t waste your time in preparing something that a journalist won’t be interested in.


  • Get to know your target journalists, what they want to know about and how they like to receive the information. Pick up the phone and discuss rather than second-guessing.
  • Ensure you have media collateral ready such as photos, fact sheets and a company profile. If the media is interested in running a story about your company, they will require further information about your company and an image.  Top tip.  Make sure any images you send are high-res, clear images that look good and are relevant to the media story.
  • Do you have a spokesperson available? Do they need a media training update?
  • Be sure to follow the latest news from your industry. If the media ask you to make a topical comment about your sector, you need to know what is happening.

Do it

  • Go viral. Got a press release – post it on your web site then use the key message on Twitter.
  • Remember PR is much more than editorial. Consider community sponsorship, events, stakeholder engagement and face-to-face customer activity opportunities.

Did it work?

  • How will you measure results?
  • Understand the power of publicity. Consumers believe the news media more than paid advertising, which make it more valuable as a reputation management tool
  • Use coverage reports, research, focus groups or simple surveys, to help determine the effectiveness and value of your PR efforts and to shape future PR campaigns.

If you would like to discuss how PR could help your business, call our PR teams in Devon and Somerset.

Katie Sanders :Katie took a sales background into marketing, and holds chartered marketer status with the Chartered Institute of Marketing. A devotee of PR she heads up our publicity team.