What is a PR Firm?

Public Relations (PR) is an industry dedicated to helping businesses, organizations and individuals communicate.  PR firms assemble people, research, and modern technologies to help their clients reach new audiences and achieve business objectives.  A good PR firm can help you better understand your audience, and help you find ways to engage that audience in meaningful ways.

Broadly defined, a public relations firm works to influence public opinion about businesses and their products or offerings.  More than 20,000 PR firms operate across America, with a total $14 billion in revenue in 2016.  PR is an essential part of any company’s communications mix, and most prefer to use an experienced PR firm rather than try to navigate the communications world on their own.

Media coverage can be an important part of a PR firm’s strategy, but it’s not the only type of communications a good firm can help you with.  Many companies make the mistake of viewing publicity as the primary goal of a public relations campaign, but it’s about identifying and using the appropriate communications tool to help a company achieve its objectives.

PR professionals usually identify a lead account executive to work one-on-one with their clients, so you’ll likely be working with the same person day in and day out. These PR professionals want to get to know you, your company, and the vision you’ve set for the upcoming year in terms of marketing and communications.  They will also need to know your business plans and sales goals so they can measure the PR efforts against your desired results. You have to be honest with your PR firm with both the goals and the potential risks your company is facing, so they can plan accordingly.

PR firms can use unorthodox strategies to gain public attention and grow your bottom line.  They can also leverage your positive brand equity in the event of a crisis. Crisis communications efforts and planning can help during environmental disasters, corporate scandals, and employee misconduct.  A crisis can obviously put your company in a bad light, but your PR consultant can help you repair your reputation quickly and recover.

Before you start looking for a PR agency, know the difference between media relations and public relations. Both are essential to your brand, but media relations professionals strictly deal with getting reporters to write about a company.  A public relations firm will carefully understand your business and your objectives and then tailor a communications program that’s unique and effective.