On our Tip Tuesday blog this week we are looking at What is Public Relations and What can it do for you? The concept of public relations is slightly confusing one and is often associated with glamorous lunches and designer shoes. While there are occasionally lovely events to attend the days of Eddy from Absolutely Fabulous are no more.
Today public relations involves skill, determination and a passion for what you do, coupled with a little black book of all the best contacts. Coupled with this many people within the wedding industry are somewhat unclear of what PR actually is. It is often thought that it floats somewhere between marketing and advertising or that it is a combination of the two, while others think it is just about getting into magazines, featured online and on television.
But what exactly is PR? By definition public relations is: “a distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and co-operation between and organisation and its publics.” (Harlow, quoted in Wilcox et al). But simply put public relations is about reputation and the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.
One of the most common questions that I get asked is “What can you do for me?” because there isn’t a full understanding of what exactly wedding PR is and the value that it provides. The hardest part of understanding the importance of PR is recognising that a lot of its value is unable to be statistically measured. Industry reputation, brand awareness and relationships are all things that definitely have an effect on the amount and type of clients you attract, but these results are not as simple to calculate.
So what is wedding PR? When most people think of PR they immediately think of traditional press releases, email blasts and crisis management, while that certainly is part of it, albeit a very, very small part, people seem to forget that the second word in PR is “relations.” PR is how you treat your clients, how you write your emails, whether you’re keeping up with changes in the industry, are you being proactive, do you have a social media presence, are you sending the right brand messaging and so much more.
But the bottom line is PR is the maintenance of an image and relationships between your business and your clients. When you’re a small business owner, essentially everything from your daily conversations to the images you post on Instagram is PR. Not everyone needs full time PR representation and not everyone can afford full time PR but that doesn’t mean you don’t need help putting together an overall PR strategy for your business. One of the worst mistakes a business owner can make is to decide not to invest, time or money, into a PR strategy.
So to answer the “what can you do for me” question, there’s a lot a wedding PR strategy can do for you. It can attract new business, get your work published on blogs and in magazines, create “buzz” around your businesses, increase your worth and put your name in front of the right people. There’s no better, more authentic way to build your brand.