You’ve probably heard of public relations (PR) firms, but what do PR pros actually spend their time doing? PR results can be challenging to quantify, but over time, comprehensive and strategic campaigns can improve many business functions and can even boost revenue. Read on to learn more about the five major roles of a PR firm and how each of these can improve business operations.

1.  Develop and Implement Communications Campaigns

It’s a great idea to get an outside perspective on your business from time to time, and PR firms can do just that. As unbiased outsiders, PR firms can craft objective communications campaigns that truly highlight the business’s differentiators and key messages effectively. 

Communications campaigns take a lot of work to plan, execute, and report on. Outsourcing this type of work ensures corners are not cut and ample time is spent on each task. PR firms can also decrease the overall workload that goes into campaigns because they can leverage tactics that worked in the past for other campaigns and their widespread connections with media personnel. 

Finally, PR teams are equipped to monitor media coverage and opportunities around the clock. When your internal team is busy with other projects or traveling for work, your PR firm can keep campaigns moving without disturbing other workflows.

2. Monitor Media Coverage

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The media cycle runs 24 hours a day, and it seems like a new media outlet is announced every week. It can be nearly impossible to keep up with all the chatter.

Media coverage is a significant task PR firms can take off your team’s list. Most PR firms are equipped with technology that can round up all media mentions of your business and other specific keywords. Ask your PR firm to provide an end-of-month report of your business’s media coverage, so you have a record to share with leadership and refer back to in the future.

You might also employ your PR firm to run competitor analyses using the same monitoring processes. Keep an eye on the types of coverage your main competitors are securing, and don’t be afraid to borrow good ideas. You might also use this research to inform the reporters and publications your business reaches out to in the future!

3. Manage Crisis Communications

Maintaining a favorable brand reputation is of the utmost importance, but proactive pitching techniques can fall by the wayside when your team has tons of other work. PR firms can keep up with your social listening.

When a crisis does arise, however, it will be all hands on deck. It’s smart to hire a PR firm with ample experience in crisis communications because, in the worst of times, things move fast. A slow response can often be interpreted by media members as a refusal to comment. Even if that’s not the case. In order to control the narrative of the crisis, you’ll need people in your corner who understand your business and can craft a thoughtful, empathetic statement in a matter of hours, not days.

Crisis communications also require a lot of time for coverage monitoring, responding to media requests, managing social media communities, and communicating with internal staff. If you don’t have an outside PR firm to help shoulder this burden, your internal team will likely have to table other work until the crisis is over. PR firms usually have multiple people on staff. They can shift assignments to deal with your crisis while your team continues pushing forward.

4. Develop Content and Key Messages

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There are dozens of platforms to keep up with these days. Large companies will likely want to participate on all platforms to capture the widest audience possible.

PR firms are staffed with excellent writers and creative thinkers, which makes them well-suited for content creation. You can bounce ideas off your PR team or work with them to create and refine content buckets for any platform, from email marketing to your company blog to social media videos. 

Staff members at PR firms also tend to be on top of content trends, whether it’s the latest TikTok audio or the current suggested length of LinkedIn posts.

5. Social Media Platform and Community Management

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Speaking of social media, managing communities across so many platforms can be very time-consuming. PR firms can help your business ideate and draft content, schedule and publish content, respond to comments and DMs and comment on other brands’ posts. The best social media strategies include tactics for tackling all of these tasks and more—sometimes on a daily basis. This often is not realistic for internal team members. But PR firms have specialists on staff who can make quick, well-informed decisions on social media. So you don’t have to worry about getting accidentally canceled.

Social media community management, in particular, can be a time suck. Some brands select to respond to every comment and DM, while others respond to only a few. Either way, you’ll need to show your audience that you’re engaged and listening to them. Or you’ll lose followers and fewer people will see and interact with your posts. PR firms can dedicate a team member to manage your social media channels daily.

What is the best method to ensure I choose a PR firm that meshes well with my business and existing team?

First, vet your potential firm thoroughly. A great thing to do is to read case studies from past projects. You might also elect to meet your account manager to get a feel for their personality and communication preferences. At the end of the day, you’re looking for a team that fits seamlessly into your internal framework and makes your life easier, so you can continue regular daily business functions.

If you are currently looking for a full-service firm, contact us to schedule a call today!