PR, Analyst Relations and Media Relations
Any business organization needs to build and maintain its reputation, aside from selling its products or services. Companies hire PR practitioners to help handle the credibility of organizations with various stakeholders that can include broad audiences like consumer advocates, government officials, environmental groups, industry analysts, business and trade media and social organizations. PR people serve as a bridge between the companies and the public. Their job is to ensure that the organizations will have access and a functional relationship with the public through effective communication.
What is Public Relations?
Per the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
Public Relations or PR involves managing the perception of the public towards an organization or an individual. It helps companies and people build, maintain, and enhance a positive public reputation and image. Through PR, companies can persuade people to buy a particular product and support their agenda. PR people are specialists who shape the perceptions of a company to generate positive publicity and build a good reputation. They ensure updates to the public on what the company does, its projects, and its accomplishments.
The best PR practitioners usually look into an organization and look for positive messages which they convey as stories. These stories aim to reach the public as good news. If there is bad news, they come up with counter-responses to mitigate any adverse effect on the company’s credibility.
Rise of Digital PR
In the past, the only media used for public relations were the traditional print, radio, TV, or other forms of communications. However, with the introduction of technology and the internet, social media have become handy tools in digital PR.
Traditional and digital PR use different methods and channels to reach and build relationships with target customers. Although both involve transmitting information to reach a wider audience, the traditional PR is one-way communication. In digital PR, wherein more immediate feedback is common for blog posts, podcasts, webinars and other self-published content; readers get more engaged in a broader range of topics.
How is Public Relations Different from Advertising?
People bucket Public Relations and Advertising together. Although they both have the same purpose – to reach audiences with desired messages — they are distinct from one another. Below are five differences between Public Relations and Advertising:
Earned vs. Paid
PR = Pitch & Place
The main difference between PR and advertising is that PR attempts to win publicity or coverage for their content. Advertisers spend money to promote a specific company, product, or service. PR specialists attempt to “earn” the interest of media, analysts or the general public to promote their cause.
Influence vs. Broadcast
PR: Attempts at Credibility
PR aims to build trust between the organization and customers by leveraging the credibility of their claims via third parties such as trade media. Advertising may attempt to win trust but is most interested in exposure and interest.
PR May Not Get Placed
Since advertising involves payment and distribution, companies are guaranteed that the media will carry their messages in the provided channels. In PR, there is no certainty a company’s story will run or be viewed because of reliance on third parties.
Lack of Control vs. Control
Messages are open to interpretation
Companies have complete control over the way, where, and how an ad will be released. In PR, there is no guarantee that the story will be told as the company wants and expects it to be. It may gain positive or negative reactions when released or posted on the media, depending on the impression of the readers.
What is Analyst Relations?
Analyst relations is a communication strategy with industry analysts working for independent research or consulting companies. Below are the three types of Research Analysts with their primary functions:
1. Prescribers – They give technology end-users and buyers advice in making strategic purchases, frequently software and platforms.
2. Analytics – They track market share and industry growth through financial data evaluation. They use these data to predict future market environments.
3. Vendor-Facers – They offer feedback on marketing and messaging strategies of companies for better market positioning.
Some companies pay analysts as part of its business and communications strategy. Some companies prefer not to spend any cash in terms of analyst relations. However, industry analysts often prioritize paying customers.
How to Engage Analysts
Public and media relations strategies for information and communications technology (ICT) companies almost always include analyst relations.
Though analysts do not give companies media coverage, they may publish well-read industry roundups of leaders in a particular space or application, effective niche players, upstarts, etc.
Analysts’ job is to understand an industry, and provide valuable insights. They can provide credibility to companies and products, which can make an impact on the image of an organization and also put them on a short list for potential buyers
Below are three simple steps on how to effectively engage analysts:
Plan – Build a network and connection with your industry analysts ahead of time. Keep them abreast of product updates and competitive wins. This will give a company the edge in its positioning. It may result in much-needed feedback from industry analysts and advice on the perfect go-to-market strategies.
Prepare & Develop Unique Positioning – A company’s job is to give all the needed information by the analysts. Remember that they possibly know a great deal about a company, a product or a Go-to-Market strategy before it is presented to them. So if they ask for data they still don’t have, be prepared to make these readily available. Moreover, the ready information must also include one’s competitors and market challenges. It will give the analysts the bigger picture about the industry they are trying to understand and analyze.
Maintain – Companies can ensure to keep a healthy analyst relation by regularly giving updates, news, and market trends. Businesses may also ask for insights from analysts to maintain a lasting, healthy, and mutual business relationship.
Media Relations is often considered a key subset of PR activities, particularly for B2B marketers.
It is the proactive outreach to trade, business, consumer and entertainment media members with their stories, new products and news items.
Increasingly, media relations efforts are centered around social media strategy and the outreach and cultivation of influencers. Influencers may be celebrities, bloggers, YouTubers, Instagram aficionados and others who have gained followers to their content and platform.
Primary Purpose of Media Relations
The primary purpose of media relations is to “place” stories. That is, to convince writers, producers and broadcasters to use the information provided them in their broadcast channels. This information may be about trends, products, new developments and are often packaged as news but with subtle references to the company and its products and services.
Tactics of Media Relations
Effective media relations people will package their stories as much as possible, meaning they will have as many elements for an interactive news story completed to help media members facing tight deadlines. This can include:
– Video packages
– Interviews with spokespeople, experts
– Press conferences
– Media kits
Event Marketing is a key component to media relations. PR people can be expert at “staging” an event at a symbolic site (a park, sports venue, historical building) and incorporating the use of strong visuals to communicate their message.
The goal is to get media people to attend or to use the packaged materials for their broadcasts and social media platforms.