Blog: What is PR anyway?
Louise Third MBE has over 30 years' experience providing public relations support to the UK enterprise sector, including working with successive governments on campaigns to encourage more start-ups.
Author of ‘PR on a Beermat’, Louise will be hosting Keele’s Marketing and Sales Base Camp in January 2023, sharing her expertise throughout the workshop as well as delivering a dedicated session on using public relations to communicate brand values.
Ahead of the Base Camp, Louise shared her thoughts on the importance of PR in every organisation.
What is PR anyway?
Public Relations can often be a mysterious discipline that strikes fear into the heart of business owners and entrepreneurs, something to be bolted onto your marketing activity or outsourced to an agency. It’s my life’s mission to change this attitude. PR is simple, but it has to be done really well.
Fundamentally PR is about building your reputation, instilling trust and ensuring your audience get to know you, with the ultimate goal of changing behaviours and attitudes to encourage people to buy, invest or employ your company.
Everyone can do their own PR but you need to have a plan! Firstly, ask yourself three simple but key questions;
- What are you trying to say? It’s amazing how difficult it can be to encapsulate what you do succinctly, but it is vital that you can distil your key messages and share them with your audience(s), whether this be a short elevator pitch at an event, across your social media channels or in a press release.
- Who are you talking to? Really get to understand your audience(s), not just whether they are business-to-business or business-to-consumer or their age range but drill down to their interests and passions.
- What do they need to know? Put your customer or client at the heart of what you do, what are their needs and how are you, as a business addressing them.
Once you understand this, you can start to tell your story.
Rather than a series of standalone activities, a press release here or a social post there, PR should weave through the entire sales and marketing effort of your business and be built into your strategy.
Sadly, there are no shortcuts to building your company's reputation! Know your story and use planned and sustained activity to tell it. From how you present yourself at a networking event, to a press release sent to a journalist, to how you communicate with staff and suppliers, there are a myriad of ways to keep your company on people’s radars.
Make some noise!!
Now you have a plan and know your audience(s) it’s time to make some noise. In a very noisy, news-filled world, targeting the message, to the right people, via the best channels is crucial.
Most importantly, make sure you have fun! Recognise it’s your story, you are unique, and your business is unique – take confidence from that. You are your biggest advocate, share your passion about the business far and wide.
Base Camp workshop
Throughout the two-day Base Camp, I will take participants on a journey through PR, marketing and sales, exploring how they are intrinsically linked. Along the way you’ll hear from entrepreneurs and business owners who have put all of this into practice and seen results. Expert speakers will guide you through strategy, social media platforms, storytelling, content creation and much more.
The session will culminate in you putting into practise the learning and activities from the workshop, pitching your business to an expert panel and convincing them to buy from you.
Keele University’s Marketing and Sales Base Camp is exclusively available to SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises) based in Stoke-on-Trent or Staffordshire, at no cost to them. Taking place on 26-27 January 2023, find out more and apply here keele.ac.uk/gateway.
The New Enterprise Base Camp is delivered through the Keele University Science & Innovation Park Smart Innovation Hub (Ref: 32R17P01691). This programme is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the England 2014 - 2020 European Structural and Investments Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme.
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