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More and more, I observe that many bright business professionals I speak with do not fully understand what Public Relations (PR) is about at its core and why it is essential to the overall positioning, awareness and credibility of any company or brand. I state this to open the opportunity to help enlighten those of you reading this who may be thinking about how a PR program can benefit your company, or perhaps, whether or not your current PR efforts are working to your organization’s fullest advantage.

While the technologies we use to communicate are continuing to evolve and change at a lighting pace, a successful PR program still relies on the same main criteria as it always has: strategy, positioning, messaging, credibility, consistency, and results. So what exactly does that all mean?

1)     Strategy: this is the bedrock foundation of any successful PR program. A well-developed PR strategy will clearly define your goals, target audiences, the strategies and tactics used to achieve those goals, as well as how you will measure the results and value of your PR efforts and investments. This strategy must be clearly defined before embarking upon any type of PR program.

2)     Positioning: the way in which your company, products, or leadership team is positioned in the marketplace must be able to resonate clearly and concisely above your competitors. Start by taking a look at how other companies, solutions, etc. in your space are being positioned and then define what your brand stands for and why it’s unique or superior to your competition.

3)     Messaging: create compelling key messages that not only represent what you want to say, but what the recipients of those messages will want to hear, read, see and talk about. In today’s world of instant communications, putting out information and messages can be done by just about anyone, however, getting your voice heard amidst the clutter and responded to has never been more challenging.

4)     Credibility: PR is all about establishing credibility for your brand among target audiences through the endorsements and validation of others who possess the type of influence that your target customers and prospects deem to be important. What others say and think about your brand is infinitely more believable than what your internal stakeholders say about your company and its offerings.

5)     Consistency: the average message must be received 6-8 times in order to get the reader or viewer to take action. As such, consistency is essential to any effective PR program.

6)     Results: at the end of the day, all of your efforts and hard work need to pay off in order to justify your investments in PR. The good news is that with technology, PR results can be measured more closely and accurately than they once were measured. The most important aspect of measurement is knowing what to measure and how to make sense of the data.

Having put this all out on the table, let me end with these words of wisdom, when it comes to PR, cutting corners will not yield desired results. That means formulating the right team to direct your PR program and investing in that team with the same level of importance and commitment that you would your own company.

I don’t know about you, but I see my business as child. I created it, helped it grow, and gave it everything I had to ensure that it was fully successful in meeting the challenges of adulthood. So why wouldn’t you want your business to have the best PR strategy and team in place to execute it?

– Jack M. Berkman