A Guide on Different Types of Public Relations
22 Jun 2022
Public relations or PR is a vast and complex discipline with a value of about $15 billion. As the key link between you and everybody else in your business, it has to be maintained at all times with utmost priority and diligence.
There are many types of public relations that you’ll need to manage on a daily basis if you want to build a solid reputation in the market and keep it intact. And which has now become all the more important given the rise in collective learning and awareness in this age of information.
Apparently, the more people learn, the more they want to know. Having said that, information can have a large impact on people or masses as we see all around us. And this begs the question as to what concrete steps you should take to control or minimize its effects so as to get the most out of today’s well-informed market.
Before we get into that, let’s quickly take a tour of what public relations really are.
What are Public Relations?
According to the dictionary, public relations simply refers to “a professional maintenance of your public image, one which is in your favor.’’
In laymen’s terms, it’s all about knowing what people want and how to deal with your consumers and everybody else connected to your business or line of work for a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship.
Be it your partners, advisors, investors, consumers, employees, government officials, competitors, or whomsoever concerned with your business, the goal of public relations is but one- to protect your company’s image and overall brand reputation at large and at once.
Moving on, depending upon the different groups of people you’re dealing with and their specific interests, the functions of your PR department may also vary. To grasp that better, let’s turn our attention to different types of PR that you need to focus on.
Types of Public Relations:
1. Media relations:
As the name suggests, it is all about getting the right approach in the press and the media so as to get your message across in a favorable and approvable manner.
The only catch is that media in the modern day is not what it used to be.
All hail digitalization, it’s gotten even more channels of mass communication than ever before. From pen and paper to all kinds of instant and digital media, enough to keep journalists on the edge of their seats, day in and day out throughout their shifts.
And this is why it’s crucial to not skip/miss out on any of the communication channels if you truly want the press coverage you seek and the impression you need.
2. Community/ Govt relations, or CSR:
While media gives you the means to communicate with the masses, a community is where the masses live. By contributing to the betterment of the society and the environment you live in as a whole, you can strengthen your community relations as well.
Better known as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it’s where you realize and commit yourself to nurture the world around us. Be it through charity, fund-raising, social affairs, or any other welfare-oriented activities.
The point is- to keep your goals aligned with the local community and stay away from government scrutiny, false claims, and bad rumors.
3. Investor relations:
Just like authorities keep an eye on your business practices, shareholders do too, especially in your financial affairs, primarily because they have invested in you, and secondly, they don’t want to take a hit if things go south.
This is where proper communication with your business partners and investors comes into the picture. Something you can easily accomplish by sharing your financial report with them on a time-to-time basis.
Being transparent with your financiers will also help you gain trust and build strong connections within the financial community, which plays an immense role in times of a financial crisis.
4. Crisis communications:
Speaking of a crisis, another critical area of public relations is to deal with any kind of disasters, mishaps, or controversies that can occur during a business operation and perform necessary damage control.
This includes disclosing the nature of the crisis or the information to the concerned individuals, its impact, and a possible plan of its control.
Again, communicating the true gravity of the situation to the affected people and those who are involved in managing it is extremely important.
5. Public Affairs:
Sometimes referred to as lobbying, it is how you shape the opinion of government, politicians, decision-makers, think tanks, and other key associations so as to influence local laws and policies in your favor.
Not by bribing per se, but by using legit proofs and data that aligns the public with your company’s goals and vision.
There are many ways to achieve that, be it in person, during meetings, public briefings, or press conferences, or by offering your support to the government for upcoming projects and undertakings.
6. Online communications and Social Media:
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube are some of the easiest and the fastest ways of reaching your audience, with 9 out every 10 PR agencies making their way online.
Apart from giving your consumers a round the clock support, it also boosts your online presence at zero cost.
But that’s not all, the more active you are online, the more opportunities you’ll have of showing that you care. A perfect way of strengthening your relationship with online viewers.
Plus, if you want to target a rather larger audience, you’ll always have the option of having online influencers vouch for your word.
Managing your online reviews is also an effective way of preserving your reputation.
7. Internal/ Employee communications:
One of the areas of public relations that are often overlooked, especially by small-scale businesses, is the level of interaction between the management and the workforce.
FYI, your employees are the biggest promoters of your brand on a day-to-day basis, and it’s only just to give them the respect they deserve.
Although most companies have dedicated teams to take care of human resources, a daily briefing and regular communication will do the job just fine.
Introducing special programs and personal growth of your employees is a great way to keep them motivated in order to get the productivity you seek.
8. Strategic communications:
Strategic comms is all about releasing the information in a planned manner so as to meet your business objectives rather than distributing it here and there.
After all, it is what sits at the crossroad between marketing and public relations.
No wonder why it's the No. 1 skill in the entire PR market.
As evidently clear, PR has many different types but all aimed at one thing i.e., to get you the right publicity in all your business endeavors.
As powerful of a technique as it is, in no way is it something that you should bring out only at the time of emergencies and press releases. But something that has to be practiced at all times when running a business.