Public relations form part of your company’s promotional and communications strategy.
The following will be discussed in this article:
- What is public relations?
- benefits of public relations for my company
- tools and key activities for public relations
What is public relations?
Companies can use public relations (PR) exercises to send messages to the public, aiming to convey a positive image. It can help to create interest from a variety of groups including customers and investors.
Public relations uses negotiation, marketing, advertising and communication techniques. Together, these could help you to better position yourself in the market.
What benefits does public relations have for my company?
Public relations can be an effective way of promoting tourism businesses of all sizes, including SMEs. It does not always require a high investment, which can make it accessible to a range of budgets.
With public relations you can:
- establish good relationships
- differentiate your business from its competitors
- generate credibility and trust
- spread your image and brand presence
- gain customer loyalty in the mid- to long-term
- help to forecast potential crises though analysing, interpreting and anticipating public opinion
The better your image is, the more likely you are to increase sales and enjoy other benefits to your business.
Tools and key activities for public relations
To achieve results, you will need to develop a public relations strategy.
Before starting, you should have a clear idea of what you want to achieve – this could include introducing yourself, improving your image or launching a new product.
You should then consider what your company does and how you are perceived. You will need to analyse your target market and think about how you want them to perceive you. Finally, plan how you will communicate with them.
Your strategy should have:
- a message
- a budget
- key performance indicators
- an evaluation mechanism
Public relations activities
Participating in events
Events can help your company to:
- network with other professionals or companies – this enables you to listen and learn from others while meeting potential collaborators, partners or investors (therefore helping to expand the business)
- increase your visibility
- improve your image and credibility with a target audience
- promote your products and services
You could take part in the following types of events:
- corporate events
- social, cultural or sport activities (through sponsorship)
A wide variety of tourism events take place in Europe and worldwide, including:
- ITB Berlin
- FITUR – International Tourism Trade Fair
- World Travel Market (UK)
- European Social Tourism Forum
- Latin America World Travel Market
Regardless of size, your company could organise an event, business seminar or conference. A well-organised and well-promoted event could enable you to improve your image and increase your visibility in the market.
Strong media relationships are an essential part of your public relations strategy. You could hold a meeting or a press conference to introduce a new product/service, or to introduce yourself.
When reaching out to the media, bear the following in mind:
- choose media partners that are serious, well-known and have a good reputation
- get to know the media – analyse what you are going to say and how you are going to say it
- focus on the information you are going to convey – not everyone will be interested in the same things
- never falsify information
- the media is not your audience – their readers are
A press release can help you to announce your news to internet and print media. If your press release is ‘newsworthy’, it could generate publicity.
It should talk exclusively about the topic at hand and should quickly answer the questions: who, what, where, when and why? Ensure that any information is factually correct and adapted to your target audience.
To write a good press release, start by knowing what you want to get out of it. For example, do you want to obtain new clients or open up to new markets?
Press releases for internet media are the same as those for traditional media, but they should be short with a strong headline.
Blogs provide you with a place to share company news and information to keep the public up-to-date and well-informed. They are useful for sharing key messages that have been approved by the marketing department, the community manager or the person in charge of managing the blog.
If your business blog is well looked-after, has attractive content, is frequently updated and promotes participation, it can be a powerful marketing tool.
Readers have the chance to comment and add their opinions on your blog, so you should monitor the blog’s evolution and any note potential criticism. Successfully and sensitively responding to this criticism could improve your company’s online reputation. In this way, you can track results, actions and conclusions.
Participation on social networks
Participating on social networks could help your news to reach large numbers of people.