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Five Reasons Why PR Pros Matter, No Matter What

Those who deny the importance of good public relations likely do so in calm waters, when sales are up and execution is sound. But when the inevitable storm comes and the waves start thrashing, all savvy marketers depend on their ability to shape and maintain public support.

Let’s face it: people make assumptions, and public relations helps quell assumptions made about you and your business. For instance, because of the famous Jaws film franchise most of us see sharks as vicious, stop-at-nothing man-eaters. In reality, roller coasters, hot dogs and lightning kill more people every year. If only sharks had realized the value of hiring a good PR team.

Here are five reasons why your role matters, even when someone says it doesn’t:

1) You need to stay visible. As business owners lay awake at night, contemplating expenses in a slumping economy, slashing the PR budget is a bad move. Let your competitors bury their heads while you project strength. Recessions come and go, but no matter what, as a PR pro you’re there on the front lines fighting the good fight. It’s easier to maintain a positive public image than it is to rebuild one after letting it go due to budget cuts or other troubles. Businesses that survive stay connected to their core audiences through proactive PR.

2) If you don’t tell your story, someone else will. WorldNetDaily put up suggestive billboards asking, ‘Where’s the Birth Certificate?’ Donald Trump echoed the sentiment and produced a groundswell of doubt regarding Barack Obama’s citizenship. Though the president eventually produced the goods and quieted the so-called birther conspiracy, a completely illegitimate claim held sway over public opinion. This happens on smaller scales every day – you’re the person maintaining the story so make sure the story is true, accurate, and you’re telling it before someone else gets their hands on it and makes changes that you may not necessarily like.

3) The age of transparency has begun. It is easier than ever to access information. If you don’t provide information first, someone else will. The best way to control what is shared is by sharing it yourself. Customers expect businesses to act with integrity, but they don’t trust ads. Customers trust third party sources. Running a successful PR campaign allows for businesses to shape third party influence, which often leads to greater trust with core audiences.

4) You know how to reach your audiences. It’s your job, knowing how to connect and where. Sure, we all want a feature in the New York Times, but that’s likely not in the cards. The job of a PR team is to understand how to play the cards dealt in the most efficient way possible. This means knowing all facets of any story being told, keeping up with the changing face of media, and championing clients through the right channels. Maybe those channels are a local newsletter or blog. Maybe it’s the New York Times.

5) There are a lot of people out there. Improving a business and making it look the best that it can takes a lot of work. When you put a lot of effort into something, it’s easy to believe that those changes will instantly take the world by storm, and sometimes that is the case, but not all the time.   Being aware of the fact that you cannot connect with everyone and knowing that PR is important and proving it is important. Constantly working to improve the field and its practices is what proves naysayers wrong. Keeping perspective and staying passionate is the key to a successful campaign.

To find out how to increase the value of your PR campaigns even further, take a look at the Vocus PR software suite.

Image: StormyDog (Creative Commons)

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