Closely related to the political, media, commercial and digital spheres, public relations has constantly been evolving with the rise of social media and the communications transformation since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Driven by a rise in demand, public relations has grown in importance and visibility.
Multiple studies from across the world agree on this trend. A recent report issued by the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism mentions that there should be considerable growth in activity for public relations agencies in the next five years.
This growth is being driven by a noticeable increase in demand for content creation, social media, brand reputation and media relations. More than ever, companies are conscious of the importance of public relations for their growth and their image. So what are the best practices in public relations? What works the best?
Turning to specialists
Even with a communications team within an organization, hiring a firm can be beneficial for a company, even if it is just to alleviate the burden of the growing communications demands. In addition, some workplaces do not possess adequate specialized resources. Whether for content marketing, crisis management, good social media practices, or other reasons, turning to specialists is the right choice.
Every professional group has its code of ethics, professional values and best practices to follow at all times. Equally, every public relations firm that is certified A+ by the
Alliance des cabinets de RP du Québec adheres to professional standards and a code of ethics to respect their duties and personal obligations, all while avoiding confidentiality violations and misrepresentation of facts. Being the holder of professional certifications (i.e. PRP, ARP, FSCRP) is also proof of quality in this field.
Knowledge of environment is essential
Identifying a target audience is one thing. Knowing the audience and how to talk to its members is another. Audiences can range from consumers to the media (as a transmission channel), from a company’s shareholders to its competitors, from interest groups to different levels of government. Public relations aim to build efficient and transparent relationships with all of these entities.
Media relations still have a crucial role
On April 16, 2021, Cision published a report based on a survey of over 2,700 journalists worldwide. The report insisted on the importance of adequately targeting media and journalists when sharing a story or a key message and understanding who the media is reaching.
Press releases are always useful! In fact, according to the same study, more than a third of respondents said that a press release is the most helpful source of information coming from an agency. In addition, 78% of journalists surveyed said that they wish to receive this type of content.
Mutual approach: essential at every step
“Public relations is the strategic management of relationships between an organization and its diverse publics, through the use of communication, to achieve mutual understanding, realize organizational goals, and serve the public interest.” (Flynn, Gregory & Valin, Canadian Public Relations Society).
We can never say this enough: clear and ongoing communication is the key to success in public relations. On the one hand, industry professionals are expected to do adequate follow-ups with clients, manage their mandates flawlessly and provide the appropriate strategic advice.
On the other hand, companies have to do much more than just sell products or services. In some way, they have to tell a story while targeting the right audience and using the best platforms, which is why a strategic approach is fundamental. In addition to reaching their target audience, companies must share relevant information in order to create content that will ensure their audience’s engagement and interpretation. An engaged audience is an audience that will be calling out for more!
Relations with “your” public
As it continuously evolves, public relations is more and more about “relations with your public,” which can be explained by many factors, such as the growing impact of social media in the communications sphere. However, traditional media remains the most trusted source for information in Quebecers’ eyes!
According to the 2021 CanTrust Index conducted by Proof Strategies, Capital-Image’s partner in English Canada for over 25 years, Quebecers’ trust in traditional media exceeds that in Canada as a whole.
- Among Quebecers, 61% say that they trust the information shared in traditional newspapers, television and radio, compared to 55% for Canada as a whole.
- In addition, 41% of Quebecers say that they trust the opinions expressed in these media, compared to 33% for Canada as a whole.
- A large percentage of 81% of Quebecers and 85% of Canadians also agree that it is extremely important for citizens to access a fact-based newspaper. They want advice from experts and information based on facts.
To maintain beneficial relationships with “their” audience, companies have to show their integrity and responsibility, respond to stakeholders’ interests instead of shareholders, and show that they care about their employees and their community.
How to figure out best practices?
How can a company survive and stand out from the rest? With adequate and personalized methods!
Part of our mission is supporting your needs in public relations. You can trust us if you wish to call on a team of qualified professionals who will get the facts straight. All you need to do is to contact us!