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  • Quintel McLaurin

The Top 5 Tools Needed to Further Your Career in Public Relations

What is Public Relations and why is it important?

Public relations (PR) has been defined in many different ways. Just like the many aspects of public relations, the definition is constantly evolving. Public relations can be tied to any activity that helps to build awareness of a company, product, service or technology. The PRSA National Assembly adopted the following definition in 2012: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” This adoption occurred after the organization lead an international campaign to modernize the definition. Public relations is the core component when trying to reach your publics and spread word about other businesses and other new products. Public relations is essentially important because you can use it on any platform whether its business or personal. Public relations uses basic tools that will help you reach your audiences and build your credibility as a PR professional and the organization you represent. Here’s a quick summary of some that can benefit your business:

1. Press releases: Press releases are sent to local and industry media outlets, such as newspapers, magazines and websites, to encourage press coverage.

2. Interviews: At industry events, or following a new press release, reach out to members of the media and offer to do a one-on-one interview on industry trends, current events, etc. This is an opportunity to establish yourself (and your company) as an expert in that particular industry

3. Case studies: Case studies can be posted on your company website to illustrate to potential customers how your services solve specific challenges. Following a successful installation, write up an overview of the project with quotes and information from your customer. These offer great content for your social media channels to share too.

4. Public service announcements: No matter what organization you represent, community interaction should be at the core. You have an opportunity to conduct community outreach and education on whatever product, goods or services your company can provide. Rather it be informative or persuasive, public service announcements can work in your favor.

5. Bylined articles: Reach out to editors in your field and offer to provide a bylined article on an emerging trend, current challenges, new codes, etc. However, keep in mind that most publications require bylined articles be strictly vendor-neutral; so focus on the broader topic, not your particular company or product offering.

You can start by doing some PR work yourself using some of the latest tools to help make work easier. If you’re comfortable with a bit of research and some writing, you can get off to a good start with a few press releases and press interviews. Many companies of all sizes from start-ups to global corporations hire a third-party firm to handle their PR. A wide selection of PR firms are available to companies in any area, and many specialize in specific industries.

Whether you do your own PR work or contract out to a professional, keep in mind the end goal: You want potential customers to become more familiar with your brand, and to have your company positively recognized. With each piece of positive media coverage, your company will be one step closer to success.

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