I get this question a lot so I’m going to make it clear, concise and simple for you (which I suggest you do with everything relating to your PR.) Here it is: PR is your relationship to the public.
Look, PR is in everything you do. If you’re interacting with the public then you’re doing PR. How you answer the phone, how you respond to emails, the design and message of your website, your advertising — everything you do that the public can see is a promotion of you. You want to put your best foot forward, don’t you? You know, it’s the same thing when we work with clients: We make sure they’re putting themselves out there in a way that best represents “who” they are. Our clients want to make a difference in the world and that’s what we help them do through PR.
Things like how you answer the phone and how you respond to email may seem small, but they do affect how the public welcomes you. And it’s a great place to start. Ever called a customer service help line for a large company? Did they put you on hold for an unrealistic amount of time, or worse; were they rude to you once you finally got through? Who would want to do business with that company? So it’s important to always leave your audience — whether it’s through an email, phone call, ad design, etc. — with a good taste in their mouth.
How to Make PR Work for You
List all the places and platforms where your company interacts with the public. Be thorough and don’t leave anything out. Comb through your website, your answering machine greeting; listen to how you or your staff interacts with callers; check to see what your automatic email signature looks like; inspect all of your website copy for spelling or grammatical errors; and anything that the public could see. Hey, my companies are all virtual, but you’d be surprised how clean our bathrooms are.
So what are you leaving people with? How are you portraying yourself to the public? (And in the near future you’ll be asking the same question when it comes to the media.) Do you want you or your company to come across as fun, cheerful and outgoing, but find that your answering machine message is bland and boring?
To make your PR work you have to ask yourself, “What is it I’m committed to leaving people with, and what can I do to achieve this?” When you can answer those two questions you’ll find yourself on the fast track to PR success…whether you know it or not.