What Does a Public Relations Professional Do?

Public relations are essential for any business today. In a world where news can travel fast, companies need to get out in front on news and put the right spin on it to protect their brand. However, behind the scenes are the PR pros. So what exactly do they do?

Press Releases

Much of the time, a PR person will create press releases. These are pieces of content, usually in article form, that present an interesting part of the company to the world. They are newsworthy and released on various websites. However, one of the main reasons to release it is to generate buzz for a brand.

It is harder than it looks to get a press release to be noticed. PR professionals need to pitch journalists all day so that it seems interesting enough to cover. After all, a journalist has a job to entertain, not just inform, the public. The trick is to make it catchy while putting the company, executive, or other individual in a positive light. If done right, these press releases can be coordinated with other marketing initiatives and build a lot momentum around product releases.

Build Relationships

There are numerous people in the media who your business needs to have a relationship with. However, PR people can replace the need for this in companies. They have relationships with journalists, designers, writers, and other people who can help spread messages fast and efficiently. Long term relationships are a big part of being a public relations professional. If a journalist knows they will give them juicy stories, they will be more likely to cover or bury other stories as per the PR pro’s request. This can give businesses who employ PR people a huge leg up.

Press Kits

Press kits are a collection of assets about a company that help journalists write stories about them. The PR specialists will put this together and make it available on a company’s site. It includes bios on the executives, stories, images, contact information, company background, and more.

Stay on Top of News

A PR professional can not be out of the loop if they want to have a job for long. Being in PR means knowing what the trends are and what kinds of stories are dominating the news cycle and social media every day. They constantly check their phones and other sources to stay up to date. If they don’t, it could be too late to fix a crisis. Their job is to manage and analyze industry news to make sure they can leverage it for better press.

Get Free Publicity

The keyword in being a PR person is free. PR people don’t manage paid advertisements. They focus on getting free publicity to save the budget of other departments. They do this in a variety of ways.

They reach out to tv stations, radio stations, website owners, social media accounts, bloggers, journalists, and more. They attempt to have a unique angle on a story that allows their client to share the spotlight with a great cause. This is beneficial because it doesn’t put a strain on the budget.

Respond to Crises

A PR pro will not be taking much vacation away from their email or phone. They need to be available to respond to crises at any given moment. In today’s world, it takes seconds for news, or even rumors, to reach the world. A PR person needs to assess the damage, put out a message, and direct the conversation away from the issue at hand and onto something else. They use certain statements and persuasion techniques in order to accomplish this. Persuasive communications is a key skill of any PR person, as every time they are stepping in front of the microphone or putting out a release they are being judged.

Coach People

A public relations specialist cannot be everywhere at once. They have to find ways to get more done in less time with the tools of the modern digital age. Luckily, there are ways to automatically schedule tweets and try to get videos to go viral.

However, nothing replaces having a team in place to handle the dirty work that the PR employee should not be handling. Things like background research, checking for typos, and other mundane tasks can be handed off to other people, who the PR person coaches.

They also coach their clients for a variety of situations. They teach them what to say, and not to say, during interviews. They show them how to respond to angry tweets, and they walk them through overall strategies and talking points to keep their message on track with their brand goals.

Conduct Campaigns

PR campaigns don’t just happen by themselves. Whenever a new internet trend is in full force, you can rest assured that someone was behind it. They orchestrated it, planned it, and executed it. They reviewed it and tweaked it to make it even more powerful day after day, hour after hour. This is what a PR professional does. They take responsibility for ensuring everyone is doing their jobs, and most of all the message that they want to get across is having the desired effect.

Write Stories

It is almost impossible to be a PR specialist without knowing how to write. With press releases, blogs, emails, and social media posts, a PR professional is great with words. Whether it is reaching out to potential clients, partners, customers, or anyone between, they are comfortable with large word counts and correct grammar. It is their calling card, and a strong background in writing is always helpful.

Even speeches are often written by someone in the PR space. Politicians and CEO’s have to be careful with what they say. Not only could one wrong word set off a negative avalanche of sales, it could also land them in legal trouble. PR teams make sure to run certain things through legal before it ever hits the web or the airwaves. This way they can make sure that their message is getting distributed without causing risk or damage to the brand overall. These speeches and social media posts can take hours to write, and be very challenging in terms of finding talking points.

A PR professional wears many hats. They must put out press releases, build relationships, and manage teams of media specialists. They are key to a business’ reputation in the new digital age. If you are considering becoming a PR pro or hiring one, review the list above and make sure you understand what it entails.

Ronn Torossian is a public relations executive and founder of 5W Public Relatios