Many businesses recognize the need for communicating with their target audiences. But oftentimes PR is confused with advertising or sales, and there is an incomplete understanding of what PR really entails.
The scope of PR is not defined by the tools in the PR toolbox: web sites, press releases, newsletters, blogs, etc. Nor is it defined by the crisis communications efforts that many people call ‘spin’. When challenges arise or decisions take a wrong turn, some people want to ‘get some PR’ on an issue to turn it around.
An effective PR program, based on marketing strategy, will help avoid the need to scramble at the last minute when a problem arises. It will also help establish trust and ongoing two-way communication between the business/organization and the audience as they establish an interactive discourse: communicate, listen (through surveys and feedback) and communicate, etc.
How can effective PR help you?
Public relations marries communication and community involvement practices, traditionally considered part of journalism, with business practices. PR staff serve as a liaison between internal and external audiences and management leaders. As a management function, public relations encompasses the following: anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, attitudes, and issues that might impact, for good or ill, the operations and plans of the organization. (PRSA)
PR professionals play many key roles in a business, including:
- Publicity and promotion;
- Internal communications to help boost staff morale, train staff to be part of your team of spokespeople, assist in staff recruitment and retention efforts;
- Increasing your scope of networking contacts through interactions internally and externally;
- Developing and delivering a consistent message of organizational vision and policies;
- Providing consistency of your message during crises;
- Serving as a liaison between management and targeted audiences who may become isolated from each other.
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