PR (public relations) is increasingly a cornerstone element in companies to gain visibility and expand brand reach. Internal or external, they are not something negotiable in communication strategy.

Below we will understand what public relations is, the channels, their characteristics, successful PR teams, their importance, and why they should be part of any company's marketing strategy.

What is public relations / PR

Public relations (or, briefly, PR) is an essential part of any company's marketing strategy. It is the practice of managing and disseminating information about a company or individual to the public for the purpose of maintaining or cultivating public opinion.

The Public Relations Society of America defines public relations as:

"a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their audiences"

Thus, we can see the lion's share done by the audience. Thus, it is not a series of passive marketing actions.

Doing PR involves carrying out activities such as developing media relations, creating press releases, handling requests from journalists, and engaging influencers. PR is based on telling stories that can help create positive perceptions of the company or individual in the eyes of the public.

If you think they are easy, the answer is a resounding NO. It is not easy to interest journalists, to find newsworthy stories, to be liked by the public, to negotiate editorials, to maintain important relationships.

Interesting journalists has never been more difficult

The role of public relations in companies

As we have seen, public relations is more than just a form of communication; it is a strategic approach to building relationships between an organization and its audience. In fact, organizations use PR to shape the public's perception of their brand and to create positive feelings about their target audience. 

By developing a sound public relations strategy, organizations can build trust and loyalty among members of their audience and ensure that the message of companies and individuals is heard.

While theoretically every company would need specialized PR personnel, their cost can be prohibitive for SMEs. However, the market offers many agencies and freelancers who can take care of the whole set of PR activities, from office to link building. Deep Marketing is, for example, an all-around communications company that can provide professional PR services, among others.

Let us now look at the individual activities of the PR office, internal or external.

The press office

Public relations always (or almost always) involves a press office, an essential part of the overall communications strategy and necessary for the realization of the company's mission. The press office is responsible for all aspects of the relationship with journalists, media and opinion leaders.

The main task of the press office is to provide the media with information that enables them to understand the company and its activities. On an ongoing basis. The press office is able to provide the media with both general and more detailed information. The ideal press office is a team that has a good knowledge of the media and a long experience in direct contacts with journalists and opinion leaders, so that they can choose the most effective modes of communication and minimize costs for the same result, taking advantage of their "equity of relationships."

In detail, the team is responsible for creating press releases, responding to media inquiries, managing media relations, resolving public communication crises, and, of course, building relationships with journalists and influencers. The press office is often integral in the creation and execution of the marketing and communications plan. With a strong internal or external press office, companies can effectively manage their public image and reach their target audiences.

The press offers endless channels and opportunities. Creating relationships to take advantage of them is the purpose of the press office

How to deal with journalists and the press

Public relations is a two-way street. It's not just about getting your message out, it's also about understanding how journalists and the press work and how to build mutual value with them. Giving and receiving, that's the key. 

In this profession, it is most important to understand the media landscape, the kinds of stories the different formats and channels cover, and the different outlets available to them. The professional must also be a manager: aware of the challenges he or she faces in terms of resources, budgets and deadlines.

What it means to do public relations in Italy

In Italy, public relations is no exception compared to the rest of the world: it is an important part of any successful company's marketing strategy. Small or large, you MUST do PR.

PR is extremely local. Always keep this in mind. And they can become "hyper" local if, for example, the company is clearly tied to a specific territory, such as those who provide medical services, gyms or wellness centers. In these cases, the PR department should prioritize local media and influencers before looking nationally.

It can be said that public relations is done at concentric centers: starting from the target area, and gradually investing at the regional, national, and continental levels.

Browse the case study on Physio Health to understand how Deep Marketing repositioned the brand through PR as well.

Building relationships with Italian newspapers, influencers and opinion leaders is essential, as is understanding the nuances of our culture and favorite stories in our society. Those who do PR must also be aware of the relevant laws and regulations regarding public relations in Italy, including any restrictions in place. The legislation is complicated. And when you start working across multiple countries, it becomes even more so. For example, it is not uncommon for PR professionals or agencies to create strategic partnerships with other verticalized players in other nations. At Deep Marketing we have a great strategic network in this regard because we understand the importance of the local cultural context.

Focusing on developing relationships with influencers and bloggers is another concentric activity with local value. It is not uncommon for an influencer to be revered in one place and perfectly unknown in another. 

How to do link building

Link building is an increasingly important part of public relations. It involves building connections from other Web sites and blogs to increase the traffic and visibility of one's own or a client's Web site.

Link building is a great way to generate credibility and trust for your brand as well as increase search engine rankings for your website. Effective link building requires identifying relevant Web sites and blogs, creating an outreach plan, building relationships with influencers, and using SEO tactics such as keyword research, guest blogging, and content optimization.

If possible, it is becoming one of the most layered PR activities composed of many different tactics. In fact, Google gives more value to companies that have inbound links of different types and from various sources, with specific percentages.

How to work with influencers

Working with influencers is an effective way to build public relations, as we have seen.

Influencers are individuals with a large social media following who can help spread the word about your or your client's products and services. Influencers can be a great way to reach a wider audience and create engagement with potential customers who would otherwise be difficult to reach directly. 

Since influencer marketing is anything but cheap, it is incredibly important to interact with influencers that are relevant to the brand; this will help ensure that you are reaching the right people with the message being disseminated. When working with influencers, it is also critical to set clear goals, set a budget, and make sure to offer them something of value in return for their efforts.

If relationships with journalists are delicate, with influencers you have to have an extra level of attention because they personally have much more power and are able to speak to many more people.

As if that were not enough, there is an extreme difference between B2B and B2C influencers, we have explored this in several insights:

Learn how to tell a story

Telling a story is a key element of public relations. It is the way to get people interested in your message. Even journalists and the media. Who remain human, like the rest of us.

Great storytelling can help you bring your message to life, emotionally engage your audience, and create meaningful connections. You can share it through press releases or emails and communications sent directly to opinion leaders and highly visible people.

To be effective and attract the attention of "key individuals," stories should be relevant to your target audience, have an emotional connection, and provide a clear call to action. It is also important to consider language: neither too lofty nor popular. It must interest but remain down-to-earth.

The stench of artificiality never pays off in real relationships.

Write effective press releases

Writing press releases is the basis of the business, needless to deny. It is the main channel to convey the message to the media through different channels, from offline to online. 

A press release should be written clearly, concisely, and professionally and should include all the necessary information that a journalist or editor needs to know. It is important to remember that a press release should be newsworthy, not promotional. In this it differs heavily from much of the current marketing done by companies. 

The purpose of a press release is to inform the media about an event, product launch, or other newsworthy item. Some clients would like the press to talk about their companies on command, but that is an inappropriate request. First, there must be something "newsworthy" and interesting to provide reporters. Without this first step, it is literally impossible to have any chance of gaining visibility.

Press release
Getting read, the unique purpose of press releases

The communication plan

Creating a PR communications plan is essential to any successful public relations program. A good plan will help define goals, identify target audiences, and determine the best strategies and tactics to achieve them.

It should include a timeline of when different activities will take place and provide a budget outlining the cost of each part.

A communication plan should obviously include anevaluation process to measure the success of your efforts. By taking the time to create a comprehensive communication plan, you can ensure that your public relations program is as successful as possible.

We devoted a large amount of space to strategic marketing, including the creation of a communication and PR plan.

Strategic marketing
How to achieve business goals with strategic marketing