Does your company have a solid public relations plan in place? For that matter, do you have any kind of PR plan at all? Many companies don’t. If your company is new, or if you’re not currently facing any kind of PR challenges, it’s easy to ignore the issue of public relations altogether.

Even if you don’t think you need a PR strategy right now, not having one is a mistake. Public relations is a frequently overlooked aspect of doing business, and while it might not be the most exciting part of running a company, it affects your branding, your marketing, and your resilience. In short, having a good PR plan will help many other aspects of your company run smoothly, so it’s well worth the effort to create one.

First of all, what exactly is public relations? You’ve undoubtedly heard the term many times before, but some people are still unsure of what PR is (and what it isn’t).

Public relations is often confused with marketing, but they’re not the same thing. However, the two areas are complementary—it’s hard to have one without the other. Public relations is mostly concerned with how your company interacts with your audience and the public in general. While marketing focuses on selling, PR focuses on relationship-building. A good PR strategy might involve working on content creation, managing social media accounts, interacting with customers online and offline, and talking to the press.

Take a look at these four reasons your company needs a PR plan:

1. Good PR is essential for effective branding

How strong is your company’s brand? Is it well-defined, distinctive, and effective? If your branding isn’t as strong as you’d like it to be, a good PR plan can help.

Why? Well, your company’s brand has to resonate with your audience. If your brand doesn’t speak to your audience in some way, it won’t help your company at all. But to create a brand that resonates with your target market, you’ve got to know that target market very well. This is where many companies fall short—they don’t have a good idea who their ideal customer is, so their efforts to connect with their audience aren’t particularly effective.

A good PR strategy can help you avoid this fate. When you’ve got a PR team, it’s their job to monitor and understand your audience—and that information is invaluable when it comes to your branding efforts. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to create targeted branding materials that actually work.

2. Having a PR plan in place will help you leverage media opportunities

You know how valuable media exposure is. But do you have a plan to make the most of your media opportunities? If not, a PR plan can help you stay prepared to talk to journalists or news stations. When you make a long-term PR plan, you’ll define the image you want your company to present to the world.

You’ll also come up with some general media interaction strategies that are in line with your goals. As time goes on, you’ll probably want to revise your PR team’s media strategies to stay consistent with your overall brand and image.

3. A solid PR plan frees you up to focus on running your company

Running a company takes a lot of time, energy, and brainpower. You probably know firsthand how important it is to delegate tasks to your trusted employees – as a company grows, there are just too many jobs for any one person to do on their own. And if you have to spend a lot of your time worrying about your branding, your content marketing, or anything else that PR could handle, your long-term strategy and other important aspects of your business could suffer. Your company depends on you, so don’t burn yourself out. Create a plan so that your employees can help you manage public relations issues.

4. Your company will recover from mistakes or crisis faster if you have a PR plan

Nobody likes to think that their company might make some kind of public mistake or be involved in a controversy, but it happens. It’s no coincidence that the companies that bounce back fastest are usually the ones with good PR plans. Your public image is fragile, and the better your company is at doing damage control, the less likely you are to be hurt by a crisis.

The takeaway

Having a good public relations plan is important for just about every company out there. If you interface with the public in some way (and what company doesn’t?), then you need a plan for keeping those interactions professional and positive. Your company’s PR plan also influences your branding and marketing, as well as your ability to recover from setbacks. Start working on your public relations plan today—you’ll be glad you did.

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Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.

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