What is a PR agency?

Public Relations
18.12.20

Bob Levenson’s aphorism,’In this very real world, good doesn’t drive out evil. Evil doesn’t drive out good. But the energetic displaces the passive’, conveys the role played by PR agencies today. PR agencies specialize in making organizations and products famous, refurbishing the reputations of businesses and transforming commodities into specialty items. 

A PR agency is expected to be successful in helping a brand or business reach its objectives. It makes sure that the message of a business is meticulously crafted. It helps a business to come up with a publicity plan that works for its brand and its goals, and then to execute on its plan and to ensure that it is followed through effectively.

PR agencies have professionals who are interlocutors and wordsmiths, so to speak; who link together people from different arenas. They promote institutional goals, ideologies, products, and images, or help create a favorable public awareness of an individual or an organization. Any business that hires a PR agency should embrace recommendations and be open to having their ideas challenged. It is crucial for a company and its PR agency to work together to achieve the best results.

The role of a PR agency:

Manage a Brand’s Reputation 

By using a mix of communication tools, a PR agency will manage a brand’’s reputation. It can improve the way a brand is perceived and manage negative sentiment. It also promotes content that positively accentuates a desired image. A PR agency also helps a business develop and use social listening tools to respond to negative comments and personalize customer experience.

PCP: Proper Company Promotion

PCP or proper company promotion aims at creating newsworthy stories so  companies get covered on other websites and blogs. A public relations agency can help a business decide what it can do that  a news outlet or magazine would find worthy of covering.They can craft publicity stunts or find other methods that can be used to gain exposure. For instance, Red Bull’s New Moon Party is an example of a successful publicity stunt. Fire-branded wingmen hopping out of helicopters at sunset above Los Angeles’ tallest building raised the brand’s sense of extremism to a whole new level. The brand successfully captured media headlines and managed to live up to its reputation for being dangerously exciting.

Create Pitches

A PR agency crafts pitches, which are a type of short, personalized message that outlines the value of a story and explains why it should be published. A good pitch needs to earn a media placement that will affect a company’s reputation and increase awareness of a brand.   Pitches are usually based on political trends, seasonal trends, industrial trends, announcements, or new services and products. With faster news cycles and a challenging number of media outlets, a PR agency needs to be savvy and strategic with how they tell stories.

Target Market Research

Without target market research, a PR agency might be grasping in the dark. Considering the target audience of a business is a priority and it should decide the tone of the rest of a PR strategy. A PR agency also identifies the persona of their target customers. By identifying the persona that they are trying to reach, they become more  able to improve their strategy in reaching this persona through targeted media outreach.

Keep Brands Relevant

The way a PR agency responds to a crisis like the pandemic will decide how a business will survive or remain relevant in the future. Good PR helped gyms switch to home workout videos. A lot of customers have stated that they have started using a new brand because of the imaginative and humane way that it has responded to the pandemic.

Building Trust

With data breaches and digital ad frauds occurring, there is a marked lack of public trust in most brands. Proven public relations tactics can be an ally in achieving credibility and winning back trust. PR agencies can provide a lot of credible third party sources, including customers, to support their claims. Social media thought leadership and company awards can help to establish a business as an authority in its market. This will enhance a company’s credibility with their target audience.

Strengthen Relationships

Helping to build relationships is a crucial role played by PR. PR agencies know that they need to foster cooperation and go through difficult times together. To help strengthen relationships between a business and its  customers, PR agencies will draw on data trends and aspects of human psychology that influence the attitudes, opinions, and beliefs of consumers. They make businesses sensitive to concerns and risks that could alienate important audiences. For example, businesses should avoid COVID related jokes and treat health and safety as priority when producing key messages.

Conduct Outreach

PR agencies conduct outreach by pitching or promoting information about products and services. This is done by coordinating interviews, sending products, sourcing quotes, and answering any queries that the media may have. The goal of the outreach is to create a positive image about a business. PR outreach gets brand mentions, press coverage and exposure for a business.

Adapt to a Declining Media

As social media thrives and print declines,  PR agencies  have to be equipped to meet current challenges in digital space. During the pandemic, most people were indoors and newsprint publications had reduced their distribution. PR agencies had to create compelling and conversational content to keep customers engaged. Social media made it to the top spot in 2020 which allowed the development of new critical PR skills like link building for SEO.

Handle Influencer Relations

With an upsurge in influencer marketing, public relations practitioners have turned to campaigns which involve influencers, Influencer marketing effectively spreads the word across social media platforms like Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram and others. This type of marketing also involves creating targeted lists, creative pitches and outreach. In exchange for influencers’ recommendations , brands offer various discounts and free samples. Influencers do make an impact on the image of a brand.

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