A 2019 study of 300 executives revealed that 20% of them did not know what PR stood for
(public relations), and more than one-third of those surveyed were not sure what PR does.
The essence of PR or public relations is building relationships and working with an organization’s publics, more commonly known in general business as stakeholder groups. PR is not simply reaching out to the general public and it’s not just performing publicity campaigns.
Let’s take a closer look at the PR functions that support a company and why PR is so important for an organization’s success.
Outbound Communication – PR is the strategic gateway for providing outbound communications. It delivers a platform for corporate messaging about a company’s mission, value proposition, and competitive positioning. PR tools such as news releases, interviews, and feature stories are used to communicate defined news, insights and corporate messaging to the marketplace.
Awareness. Credibility. Reputation. PR helps an organization build awareness for its brand, executives, products, and assets. PR builds relationships with credible third-party sources to improve name identification, reputation, trust, success and authenticity. It informs and educates stakeholders and potential stakeholders (leads, prospects, and suspects). And it disseminates information to communicate desired content along the buyer’s journey and the diffusion of innovation curve. Showcasing insights from a company’s CEO and senior executives also shows that the business is managed by knowledgeable industry leaders.
Inbound Employee Relations. Internal communications at a company are the development of initiatives on behalf of an organization to interact, communicate, and build comfort with employees. PR and employee relations can also involve efforts for recruiting and retaining employees.
Investor Relations. Publicly held companies have an IR (investor relations) person or agency that manages requirements for being a public corporation to meet disclosure and regulatory compliance. They host conference calls, write investor-oriented releases, and keep the website updated with financial information for shareholders.
Customer/Partner Relations. Dealing with customers is an important part of PR. Customer relations allow a company to promote success with new customers and allows the customer to publicize success on their end. The same can be said for partnerships and alliances. Writing and getting customer case studies published are an excellent way to communicate with potential new customers who face similar challenges and may need the company’s offerings.
Media Relations. Dealing with press to line up news, feature stories, and publicity on behalf of a company, its staff, its products and other assets provide reach to an audience of discrete media channels and show market standing and customer value to these audiences.
Analyst Relations. Reaching out to industry, business and financial analysts can be a major part of a PR program. Analysts can offer advice, write reports, speak to press and clients at trade shows, and offer paid opportunities that may make sense for a company.
Influencer Relations. There are many influencers who cover a particular industry, field or category who have market authority and are looked upon for industry insights. PR can develop relationships with these influencers through social media, networking, guest contributions for content, mailings, email, and more.
Trade Shows & Speaking Engagements. PR professionals can be responsible for placing executives in speaking slots or supporting upcoming speaking engagements. An investment to exhibit at a large trade show might be supported by a PR representative to maximize any PR opportunities at the event such as meeting with press and inclusion in show news coverage.
Industry Awards. PR often works with organizations that host award programs to apply for awards on behalf of the company. Once victorious, the success of winning the award is shared as news, content, and marketing.
Content Marketing. PR messaging, collateral, news, stories, and features all make for excellent content for a company’s content marketing program. Fresh content can be published on a company’s website and social media channels. PR often provides new blog posts or takes existing blog posts and transforms them into industry bylined stories.
Sales & Marketing Support. PR teams work with sales and marketing and provide them with third-party successes that can be used for sales meetings, kits, collateral, emails, and event handouts.
This is an overview of a tech PR program. There are other elements that can be part of a program such as social media management, social responsibility campaigns, and crisis management, but these initiatives as laid out are typical components of a PR program for a tech company.