It’s commonly known that PR is a handy acronym for public relations and for many, this term solely encompasses sending information to and liaising with journalists. It’s what our roles are considered to be at the most basic level.
Yet the description above doesn’t tell the whole story. For me there are 3 R’s in PR (two of which are silent of course unless you want to imitate a cat purring) and relationships are of course the pillar holding up the value of our departments.
Relationships come in many forms, they ebb and flow as we side shift into new roles as PR professionals, journalists and influencers but we all know that there has to be some level of open communication to encourage the amplification of the message you’re trying to get out.
The way we approach journalists has historically been on the proviso that what we’re going to them with is newsworthy – it is of interest to the general populous as a whole and answers the question ‘so what?’
But sometimes we need critical feedback (other than silence) to adapt and tell the stories that are worthy of being shouted through a loudspeaker but with a different focus. A relationship with a journalist or influencer can be invaluable at the research stage of a project to ensure that the hook you think they’ll be interested in is what will actually trigger coverage.
Relevance is of course tied in with this – unless a journalist or influencer sees how the information you’re sharing will be relevant to their audience they’re not going to do much more than read what you’ve sent and forget about it.
Being truly relevant means that what you’ve sent isn’t immediately forgotten. It might not mean that what you’ve sent is used verbatim (which isn’t great because of duplicate content anyway) but it could trigger a piece which is mainly based on what you’ve sent or become a long form article where the information you’ve provided is one piece of a wider story.
Relevancy is also about communicating with the right people in the right way – if a project or campaign has a regional angle a journalist or influencer writing about Manchester will have zero interest in statistics and information about London. Not targeting our communications can be a short cut but it is a short sighted short cut and one which many in our profession learn to avoid quickly.
If you have a good relationship and relevant information for the people you’re about to outreach to you’ll be pretty confident that you’ve nailed the perfect formula and have increased your potential for coverage. Your confidence could be misplaced though if what you’re communicating isn’t relatable.
Relatability is often overlooked from a PR perspective as we’re focused on statistics and trying to be as newsworthy as possible while forgetting that some of the most read and shared pieces of journalism are human interest stories. They tug at our heart strings, we become overwhelmed with admiration for people’s tenacity and strength, and we feel like we can relate to what’s being shared.
The relatability of content is one of the core reasons why digital influencers are exactly that, influencers.
Zoella is the phenomenon she is because for many she is like an older sister and talks openly and candidly about issues that other young people are struggling with or excited about. Elsewhere online, British Beauty Blogger Jane Cunningham who set up her blog to be able to be honest if a beauty product was rubbish because she couldn’t be that blunt within the confines of magazines beauty pages.
There’s a lot of plates to juggle when you’re identifying the best strategy for your client and their announcements and relatability shouldn’t be at the bottom of the pile. The entrepreneurial nature of independent content creators, including presents like Kate Thornton with her company TBSeen highlights this more than ever – we don’t want PR to become the neglected link between businesses and media.
So there we go, this is my reasoning as to why there are 3 R’s in PR and that’s before we get into the other tasks that can often fall into the laps of PR professionals such as awards submissions, event planning and management, and proofreading.