11th December 2015
PR professionals write press releases, monitor the news and answer incoming phone calls from journalists: these are some of the most common prejudices when it comes to the business of doing PR. Major companies still give PR firms the scrapings from the advertising or marketing’s budget, because they do not fully grasp what PR professionals actually do or how they can transform a business’ image or perception with its main stakeholders and target audiences. Nathalie Verbeeck, Managing Director of the Grayling Belgium’s PR practice, explains why PR is important for your business:
Working with intermediaries is one of the most important differences between advertising and media relations. If your news item is for example published in De Standaard, it will have far more impact on your target audience than an advertisement in this same newspaper. Why? The objectivity of intermediaries like newspapers, radio & television enhance a level of credibility with the general public that advertising will never reach.
This credibility is exactly one of the other strong points of PR. We are constantly looking for newsworthiness, the bigger picture, the right message & target audience. By managing a credible message, and repeating this message to change or enforce the perception of your business, we have reached one of our main objectives. Credibility of PR is also the factor differentiating us from social media, coming back also to the use of intermediaries: people still know that “they should not believe everything they read on Facebook written by anyone”. Have you ever heard someone saying this about an item of “VRT Journaal”? This does not mean that we do not believe in the strength of social media, but stating that “social media means the death of PR” is just a few steps too far. We always try to incorporate this in our PR campaigns where possible, creating synergies between social media & PR.
A last important point is that we build personal relationships by proactively telling your message. Many people still believe that PR professionals only build relationships with journalists, but this is wrong. We communicate with a multitude of stakeholders ranging from the general public, to political stakeholders, employees and even residents.
So to conclude, PR is more than writing a press release and send it to a defined list of journalists: it’s about an in-depth comprehension of your business & your target audience enabling us to get the right story to the right people, always in line with your strategy and KPI’s.
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