Public relations includes work with both earned and unearned media. Foundation Marketing describes earned media as any media or press coverage that’s generated organically without your company directly purchasing it. Some examples of earned media include shares on social media, press mentions that come from media outreach, and website viewers generated from google searches. Unearned media is something you need to pay for, such as online ads on Google or other websites, television ads, or paying to have your company’s story in a newspaper. Of these different types of media, some are considered marketing, and some would be considered journalism.
Public relations jobs are available in both marketing and journalism departments. A person who desires to become a public relations professional has the ability to be a publicist, media liaison, corporate spokesperson, copywriter, social media manager, script writer, photographer, and so much more. Certain types of jobs for a PR professional are somewhat unclear to the average person, because they have many different responsibilities. Working at a PR firm or PR agency, you would contribute to the firm’s efforts to offer various public relations services, from writing press releases and speeches, to conducting market research and changing a company’s brand image.
For example, a publicist works with a company to communicate what they want about their brand and send messages to customers. They collaborate with leaders of the organizations to decide what platforms to use and how to engage their audience with different types of media. Their responsibilities often include writing speeches, press releases, press kit materials, media alerts, social media content, bios, website content, and pitches.
A corporate spokesperson is meant to be the face and voice of the brand to build consumer trust, as people are more likely to trust a real person. It is important to communicate exactly what a company stands for. Responsibilities of these people include preparing interviews and events, aligning messaging with their team and company, writing media relations, planning upcoming stories, solving issues, answering media requests, and preparing press events.
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One thing a person working in public relations may have to participate in is crisis communications. Crisis communication can be defined broadly as the collection, processing, and dissemination of information required to address a crisis situation. It is the dialog between the organization and its public, during or after the negative occurrence. An example of a crisis could be a restaurant being publicized for making a customer sick, or a company being unable to meet production needs due to a natural disaster of some kind. During these circumstances, a public relations professional needs to help the public understand what is happening with the company and likely issue an apology to customers. This is a different branch of public relations in which similar tasks are performed but are done at a hastened rate and with higher stakes.
One important thing for public relations students or professionals to understand is how to build a better brand image. In order to do this, you need to identify who you are a brand, identify who you are targeting as a customer base and share your mission and values. While doing this, it is important to experiment with your tone of voice, convey your brand’s personality, create your brand guidelines, and stay on brand.
All of these concepts are applied to a variety of platforms, and brand image building occurs both digitally and through in-person conversation. Public relations includes creating media such as marketing campaigns on Google Ads. These ads are often pay per click (PPC) advertising. This means that after creating an ad that will effectively grow your brand, you pay as the ad pops up with search engine results and potential customers click on it. Branding concepts should also be applied by public relations workers to social media and content marketing which can occur on company websites or blog posts.
There are three main types of media outlets used in PR as described by Yvonne Gonzalez in tech image are trade publications, tier-one media, and metropolitan newspapers or publications. Public Relations workers can do news interviews with all three types, and all three typically have opportunities for both earned and unearned media. Trade publications cover specific industries such as construction, business marketing, management, manufacturing, hospitality, and more. Tier-one media is extremely well known and trusted media organizations such as Fortune or the New York Times. These are especially good for PR because they build both exposure and credibility. Last, Metropolitan newspapers or publications are different in that they share news related to a certain geographical area such as the Chicago Tribune. Public relations is a broad field with many different opportunities and roles continue to grow as new technology and social platforms arise.