Often, public relations feels like this nebulous concept that brands have difficulty pinpointing. What is it? How can I measure its value? Why should I bother?
At its core, public relations is the art of influence. It’s about understanding the key goals and interests of your audience and communicating your message effectively, all in an effort to persuade them to attend your event, agree with your idea, or purchase your product. Essentially: It’s word-of-mouth marketing at its finest.
And it’s everywhere around us, whether we know it (or like it) or not.
From justifying salaries of high-profile athletes to political spin on the debate stage to figuring out where your group of friends should meet this weekend, the power of persuasion surrounds us on television, social media, and in our circle of friends and family. It permeates our conscious in all interactions, both professional and personal, directly and indirectly. You may be using it every day without realizing it.
Remember that friend who needed an interactive restaurant recommendation, so you told her this amazing story about your birthday brunch last year? Or that weird performance art bubble festival you shared on Facebook for college friends that would love it?
That’s everyday PR.
This art inciting action strikes a delicate balance of connected storytelling and the intangible value of trust. It’s a prized skill to hone for your communication arsenal.
Here are some key PR pillars for everyday communicators:
Clear Messaging and Appropriate Delivery.
Speak about what you know in a way that your audience can easily and quickly digest the information.
Craft an articulate message, grounded in your own, authentic voice. Consider if your audience prefers a phone call, text, or email. Do they speak in short bursts or long-form conversation?
Tailor the message to fit their needs but keep it in your voice, with a clear, concise, and direct call-to-action.
When communicating in person, be mindful of pacing, the use of filler words, and body language. Be confident.
Pro-Tip: Practice in front of the mirror! Strive to maintain eye contact with yourself a majority of the time. Get comfortable enough that you do not rely on your notes.
Timing is Everything.
Would you announce an engagement at a funeral? Absolutely not. Strategically choose a window to deliver your message, taking into account the environment around you. To keep your message from getting buried in the noise, assess factors like holidays, major life events, and breaking news that affects your audience. On the flip side, a factor like these may catapult your message to the forefront – be ready to hustle with your story at a moment’s notice.
Take Negativity in Stride.
Crisis communication is bound to happen. How you handle it will speak volumes to your audience and solidify or shatter their trust in an instant. Be truthful and empathetic, never defensive (even when you’re literally playing defense). Avoid passing blame and own up to mistakes when you can. When in doubt, sometimes the best response is no response at all.
Written by: Abbey Bobzin, Media Relations Account Executive