What are the different Types of Public Relations?

Public Relations

What are the different Types of Public Relations?

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Do you know that Public image makes up for 63% of the value of most companies today? (Source: feedough.com)

Yes, in this era of digitalization, and globalization, successful, and two-way communication is important to bring your brand into limelight, attention, and focus with the key audiences, and improve your public image.

Public image is also important as it contributes to a rich, and valuable brand experience, as well as it improves the way people, and media professionals perceive your brand.

Most of the organizations now have a dedicated department specifically aimed at managing external, and internal communications, and their Public relations, i.e. they manage the various types of Public Relations.

Communication is an important part of PR. PR is short for Public Relations, an effective, and highly important communication strategy.

If you’ve ever wondered, “What is Public Relations all about?” or “Why is PR so important?”, then this article is just for you. This article will break down the detailed meaning of Public Relations, and also explore the types of Public Relations, i.e. their functions, as well as the importance, and benefits of PR.

Let’s start by understanding what Public Relations is.

What is Public Relations?

What is Public Relations?
What is Public Relations? Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

Different organizations, and professionals define Public Relations differently.

According to the Public Relations Society of America, Public Relations is a strategic communication process that aims at building mutually beneficial relationships between organizations, and the public, ensuring the highest quality of communications, and a positive public image, and perception.

In simple words, it a communication strategy used by companies, individuals, and organizations to build high-quality connections, and relationships with prominent institutions, and associations, the public, and other parties of interest, and maintain a favorable reputation.

This communication strategy is implemented by keeping in mind the common goals of the brand, and positioning your brand well in the market.

Through PR strategies, you try to persuade, and convince external, and internal audiences, to promote your brand, idea, product, and services, influence buying behavior, help them make a purchase, improve your public image, support your position, and so much more.

Public Relations vs Advertising

Public Relations vs Advertising
Public Relations vs Advertising. Photo by Windows on Unsplash

Public Relations is often compared to, and confused with advertising. However, both of these tactics are very different from each other. To promote your brand, product or services, and improve its image in the mind of others, many businesses use paid media to achieve their goals.

It is common for brands to invest in advertising, pay journalists to write stories for their brand in print or blogs, or use physical, and digital advertising. All of these are elements of advertising. In advertising, you pay a specific amount of money to get a placement in a form of media, or a platform.

This can be a magazine, a radio spot, a TV commercial, online ads, newspapers, billboards, etc. When you pay a certain amount of money, then your advertisement gets displayed. It is as simple as that. You are paying the media to get exposure.

PR on the other hand is earned media. Public Relations helps you achieve all these goals without advertising. Instead of using paid media for promotion, you aim at improving your connections, and relationships with other parties, and persuade these external or internal audiences. It is the art of persuasion.

Thus, in PR, the focus is on unpaid or earned methods of promotion, and brand positioning. It is about communicating with your internal, and external public through unpaid sources, and producing the same result.

When you have good relationship with the other parties, for example, a journalist, then they may write in support of your organization. It has nothing to do with paid methods of promotion. In Public Relations, you don’t pay anything to get media or other forms of promotions or placements.

It’s more about the relationship that you enjoy, i.e. between you the publicist, and the other party.

Another important element of PR is storytelling. Public Relations specialists achieve their goals by creating narratives to influence the minds of others in a positive way.

By doing so, they protect, improve, and build on their public image, and brand reputation by using various channels of communication like traditional media, social media, or other media.

PR is also used to manage a crisis, in case an event occurs which can sabotage the image of a brand.

In which case, the ground, and practical situation of the crisis is analyzed, positive messages are formulated, and then these messages are converted into positive stories, and suitable response ideas, which are then propagated.

This then helps the organization to manage the crisis, lower the damage, and advance their agenda. However, sometimes many organizations commit blunders when it comes to Public Relations crisis management. Further reading: Top 5 Public Relations Lessons from history

What are the different Types of Public Relations?

Types of Public Relations
Types of Public Relations

There are certain Types of Public Relations. They either deal with the internal public or the external public. Let us briefly take a look at these two kinds of public, before discussing the Types of Public Relations.

Internal and External Types of Public Relations

As is obvious by the name, the internal public refers to all the people within an organization, and the external public refers to all the people outside an organization.

Internal Public Relations is a combination of all the communication taking place within an organization. Conversely, all the communication taking place outside an organization is External Public Relations.

For example, Shareholders or Investors of an organization, and its Employees are its internal public. On the other hand, its Customers, Financial Institutions, Government, and other Mass Media are its external public.

The different types of PR revolve around either the internal or the external public. In this post, we are going to discuss the types of Public Relations, which are as follows –

Internal Public Relations – Employee Relations 

Employee Relations or Communications
Employee Relations or Communications. Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Employees are the backbone of an organization. Without its employees an organization is unable to perform, and run effectively. Employee communications is a type of Public Relations that caters to the needs of the employees.

As is obvious by the name, it is a strategic communication process that is aimed at managing the relationship with your employees, and people working within your organization. Also known as employee relations, it aims at relationship building, and management of your own employees.

By maintaining healthy relationship with your employees, you can ensure that they are happy, and satisfied, their problems are suitably solved, and they are valued. All this ultimately benefits their teamwork, productivity, and work performance.

An organization will never be able to meet all its objectives, if it is unable to gain its employees support, encourage its employees, and manage its relationship with them.

By building healthy relationship, and mutual understanding, you can encourage your empoyees to fully participate in the functioning, and working of your organization, which in turn proves to be beneficial for your business’s mission, and goals.

Furthermore, it also promotes a healthy work culture. That is why Employee PR is a must.

Internal Public Relations – Investor Relations

Investors are crucial for every organization. Hence, the PR department handles investors, keeps them informed, manages their queries, and complaints, organizes their events, releases financial reports, and does the required regulatory filings.

External Public Relations – Government Relations

Public Affairs or Government Relations
Public Affairs or Government Relations. Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash

No business can function in isolation. A lot of other individuals, and groups, and factors, are directly or indirectly connected to your business, and can affect its growth, and functioning. Thus, maintaining a healthy relationship with them is necessary.

Also known as lobbying, Public Affairs or Government Relations is about building, and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with individuals or groups with an interest in your companies’ affairs. This includes politicians, business groups, prominent civil servants, trade associations, etc.

Government Relations helps you to voice, and make your organization’s views, and opinions known. It also helps you to convey to prominent decision-makers about any new policy that may affect your business. You thus assist the policymakers in making decisions that may affect your organization.

For a favorable brand image, and to influence the public image, Government Relations is a must. For example, you can submit to governmental organizations, issue briefing papers, and conduct meetings or conferences.

It also includes drafting, and issuing responses to selected decision-making committees, and issuing press releases to influence the opinion of the larger public. (Thus it combines government relations, media communications, and corporate information dissemination.)

External Public Relations – Media Relations

Media Relations
Media Relations. Photo by Matt Chesin on Unsplash

Your perception in the mind of the media, and your relationship with the media is very important, as media can greatly influence the minds of others.

Media can shape, and set agendas, and for you to disseminate important information, and messages to your target audience, and influence them, you surely need media on your side. Thus, forging a positive relationship with the media is extremely important.

Media Relations deals with building strong relationships with the media, journalists, bloggers, writers, influencers, and broadcasters.

The communication through media is carried out by sending press releases, and formulating news stories related to your organization that can positively affect you, which is propagated by the media.

Companies also give interviews in the media outlets to reach their desired audience. When you build good relationships with the media, they are more likely to publish positive articles, and stories about your organization, and give you favorable media coverage.

This helps establish, and position you, and your business as or amongst the industry leaders, stand out amongst your competitors, build a long-lasting brand awareness, and improves your brand image, and reputation.

External Public Relations – Community Relations

Community Relations
Community Relations. Photo by Vonecia Carswell on Unsplash

Direct engagement, and communication with your community is very important as most of your efforts are targeted at these people. Therefore, building healthy relationships with the local community where your business is based at, is very important.

Community Relations comprises of all the communication strategies that are aimed at doing just that! If you make a commitment to your community, and build a positive image of your brand in their minds, your organization attracts more customers.

Maintaining good community relations is always an attractive, and effective proposition for your business. This ultimately leads to more sales, revenue, and overall growth.

For example, you can host donation drives, initiate CSR initiatives, get involved with a local cause, sponsor a local fest or event, or give something back to your customers as part of your community engagement. This will also help you boost your ethical reputation.

External Public Relations – Crisis Communications

Crisis Communication
Crisis Communication. Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

A planned, and consistent approach or communication strategy that helps you to prevent or curb an organizational crisis is termed as Crisis Communication. Crisis Communications deal with the identification of the crisis, and the formulation of an appropriate response that can help you manage that ongoing crisis.

A crisis can badly affect your organization. It can not only destroy your public image but also lead to a decline in sales, and revenue.

The Under Armour U.S Speed Skating Olympics Design Flaw (2014), JC Penney – ‘Hitler Kettle’ (2013), Texaco Racial Discrimination Lawsuit, Cadbury Worm-Infested Bars (2003), and German Wings Disaster (2015) are good examples of how a crisis negatively impacted their business.

Thus, Crisis Communication is important because no organization is a stranger to organizational crisis, and it can occur anytime, to anyone. It not only deals with the management of a crisis but also its prevention. Because prevention is always better than the cure!

Crisis Communication also deals with some aspects of media relations, and government relations as these are the parties that can help you in a crisis.

External Public Relations – Customer Relations

Customer Relations focuses on target, and potential customers of a business. Interaction with the current valued customers, and the potential consumers is necessary to know their feedback, suggestions, interests, and priorities.

This data is also required to prepare further business-related strategies for influencing more potential customers.

External Public Relations – Marketing Communications

This involves supporting marketing objectives of a business. This comprises supporting different marketing strategies like brand awareness program, product launch, marketing campaigns, product positioning, etc. This also includes online, and social media communications.

Why is Public Relations important?

Public Relations has become a very important topic today for organizations, due to its many benefits. These benefits are as follows –

Public Relations helps you be credible 

If you build, and maintain a healthy relationship with the public, the public then develops a strong form of trust in you, and your brand. Thus, by focusing on your PR, you can gain the public’s trust, and become more credible.

Your messages are received well by others if they consider you credible, and trust you more vis-a-vis the messages received through advertising. This implies that it helps you strengthen your community relations, and also build a strong relationship of the brand with the public.

Public Relations is cheaper

There is no denying the fact that creating, and implementing a Public Relations strategy requires funds, but when you compare these costs to that of paid promotion, you will realize that PR is a cost-effective technique. Thus, PR helps you save money.

Public Relations helps you increase your reach

If you invest in Public Relations, and implement a good PR strategy, then you will be able to connect with a lot of entities, especially media, journalists, writers, bloggers, and influencers. They can thus prove to be an effective form of promotion for your business, and help you gain exposure, and increase your reach.

Public Relations helps build and strengthen brand image

When your target audience gets to know about your brand or organization through a renowned journalist, or a media outlet, your brand appears to be more trustable, credible, and better than others.

And, since Public Relations can help you in getting suitable media coverage, and exposure, it can help you boost your brand image, and reputation.

This is because when others talk about your brand in a good way, it is bound to have a more positive impact, and response, than when you, yourself talk good about your brand through advertising.

Public Relations develops Loyalty

The customers have a loyalty factor for your brand because of your intense Public relations practice. They prefer your brand, and tend to buy from your company repeatedly.

If you want more information about Public Relations, and its types, you can check out the following video.

Conclusion on the different Types of Public Relations

In this post, we explored the meaning of Public Relations, the types of Public Relations, and their many benefits or importance of Public Relations. We know that you all agree that effective communication strategies are of utmost importance for your organization.

And, communicating with both the external, and internal public, and maintaining good relationship with them is the key to a long-lasting success. Thus, focusing on Public Relations, and understanding the types of Public Relations is very important.

Do let us know what you think about Public Relations, and about all these types of Public Relations in the comments section down below.

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