What does a PR agency do today?

Posted by Jackie Russell

When Chatterbox PR started out people asked me, “What do you do?”

My stock reply was, “Anything for money” but I’ve learnt that my sense of humour frequently baffles people and I didn’t really share my own story.

Now, I say, “We are reputation managers and consider every factor that influences what people think about our clients.”

One NewsWEB

Back in the day public relations (PR) was all about writing a press release, distributing it to newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and waiting for the coverage to appear.

This work remains an important for any PR company, but the playing field and rules have changed dramatically.

The advent of digital media means PR can have greater control of the circulation of news and information, and it is less reliant on mainstream media.

The flipside to this is, we now live in a world that is overloaded with messages and it is very difficult to make yourself heard above the hubbub.

To have a glimmer of exposure, without doing something shocking or unethical, you need to have a strategy and plenty of magic up your sleeve.

PR to-do list

A PR agency should constantly be looking at new and creative ways to share a client’s story.

Much will depend on the client’s enthusiasm for moving beyond the traditional press release, media circulation and keeping your fingers crossed that somebody somewhere sees the story.

Here are some things Chatterbox PR does in its day:

1. Identify the required outcome

Before any campaign is started we determine what the client hopes to achieve by engaging us.

If our client is unclear about what they want to achieve, its our job to identify a tangible goal that is realistic.

2. What’s the budget?

Money talks and if a business has a limited budget they need to be realistic about what they can achieve.

3. Review all potential opportunities

We look at what a business or organisation currently has available to communicate their story and consider how to maximise the impact of those opportunities.

How is the website used?

Is there a database?

Do they have a relationship with a not-for-profit?

Are they best friends with a rising star who will support them without wanting megabucks?

And yes – are they on Facebook?

Etc, etc…

4. Check out current performance

PR people should have the skills to produce good surveys that improve an organisation’s ability to make appropriate decisions.

It is important to identify potential risks, for example, when clients or stakeholders are grumpy about something.

We use SurveyMonkey because when the software is used well, it will do the number crunching for us.

5. Creative communication strategy

Planning is essential to meet those outcomes we discussed right at the start.

A PR company will consider the culture of an organisation, how to better use the tools that are underutilised and what new creative approaches could work.

This can be a lot of fun, with plenty of scope to use anything and everything, depending on the budget.

PR people can do; website overhauls, video, events, quirky campaigns and so much more than a good old press release. These can be as cost-effective or elaborate as a client requires.

Importantly, content that is developed should be used in as many places as appropriate to reach more people and increase the impact of the message.

6. Report the results

With digital media there are numerous ways to track the numbers to identify the success of public relations activities.

Social media insights, website analytics, MailChimp data and any other numbers that indicate trends is an essential role for good PR.

It helps identify what works and what needs to be changed.

It doesn’t feel like PR is rocket science but then, we don’t have the first clue about milking cows.

By all means, have a crack at your own publicity and when you are ready, give Chatterbox PR a call to see if our rocket fuel is a better option.