What is Public Relations?

by Richard Hahn

Although you might not have a good grasp on what public relations is, a more important question is whether it is for you - a small to medium size business, such as those in the alarm industry.

The answer is a resounding yes. But first let’s tackle the “what.”

Public relations, or PR for short, is the way organizations, companies and individuals “get the word out” to the community that they exist as well as what they do and why they should know. Examples of PR include press releases, newsletters, public appearances and events, as well as social media. The goal is to create and maintain a positive image and a solid relationship with the public and media.

Advertising and PR

So, what is the difference between PR and advertising? PR disseminates information with the public through various unpaid messages sent to and shared with magazines, radio, TV and newspapers. PR also helps defend bad publicity that affects an industry or company’s credibility and reputation.

Sending a press release to the media that includes news about the company, activities, products and services is an excellent way of letting editors know who you are and what you do. Of course, the media can publish or not publish the information, publish it when they choose and even edit it. You are at the “mercy” of the editors.

Advertising, on the other hand, involves paying for space in the media or on websites. You control the message. Your ad will appear exactly as you provided it to the media and when you choose. Advertising keeps your company in the public eye. Remember, out of sight – out of mind.

The Benefits of PR

While both PR and advertising have their benefits and advantages, having a news item published, a quote in an article, or a column from someone in management gives credibility to the company that is invaluable.

The security industry can be very competitive and to succeed, companies must differentiate themselves from the competition. But at the same time, it’s also important to create and maintain a positive public image. The outcome of an effective PR campaign for your company will earn you a good reputation, a strong relationship with customers, as well as increased sales.

In future articles we will cover writing a press release, communicating with editors and preparing for interviews.

About the Author

Richard Hahn is a public relations expert serving the physical security industry for over 30 years. Formerly from Manhattan, Richard now lives in Bogata, Columbia with his lovely wife, Iliana, and adorable son, Isaac. Richard works with TpromoCom as a public relations and marketing professional. To contact Richard Hahn, call his US number at 1-561-327-6970 or email him at Rich@RichardHahn.com.

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