What is Public Relations (PR)?

PR - public relations - is one of the most powerful tools that companies and organizations can use to make themselves stand out. One of the definitions of PR is that it is a field that seeks to maintain a positive relationship between organizations and the public. In practice, this means: find out which media are read by your target audience, so that you can approach them with relevant press releases. Your content will only be news if editors find your content relevant. PR then ensures that you can reach your target audience for free and in a credible way.

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Discover how PR works

You might be wondering: what is PR? And what is the difference between marketing and PR? In this article you will find an easy explanation. You also discover how to use PR to make your organization more popular. This way you climb in the Google search results, your website attracts more visitors and you save advertising costs. And all that just by sending relevant press releases to journalists.

What is the difference between marketing and PR?

PR - public relations - and marketing are often seen as the same. That is not entirely true. PR and marketing are actually two different strategies. The most important difference is that marketing is used to generate a direct increase in sales, and there is often a cost associated with the reach of marketing. PR revolves around building a strong image, visibility in the media, and a good reputation for the company. Think for example of thought leadership, the status companies have if they are an expert in a certain area. Marketing revolves around paid visibility, with PR, a company earns visibility by creating relevant content.

Free publicity

Free publicity literally means free publicity. Free publicity or a PR strategy is used to increase brand awareness by standing out in independent news media, such as the NOS or Algemeen Dagblad. Through free publicity, a company gets free attention in these media, which allows the company to stand out and come into contact with the target audience. Free publicity can therefore also be seen as free advertising. It is a smart strategy to make your company popular in a short amount of time through media attention. It is important that a company uses a sound free publicity strategy, because it can massively accelerate the growth of the company.

What does PR yield?

That PR yields publicity for companies is of course nice, but what are the results of PR exactly? One of the most important consequences of PR is that your company gets attention in independent news media. Free publicity increases the brand awareness of your company. This way, possible clients, customers and employees get to discover your organization. Through PR, you climb up in Google's search results. This way, you no longer need to use expensive ads, but realize free attention for your company.

Target audience for PR

Determining the target audience is an important part when setting up a PR plan. Focusing on a specific target audience is important in order to realize a successful PR campaign. This is also one of the biggest challenges for organizations. Whom do you sell your products or services to? That is your primary target audience. Too often, brands focus on their peers instead of on the actual users or customers of their company. The first step of a good PR strategy is therefore determining the target audience.

Activities of a PR manager

The task of a PR manager or PR advisor is, shortly put, to make sure that a company builds up a positive reputation and holds on to it. The job description of a PR manager often contains many organizational tasks. In some organizations, the PR manager is not only responsible for communicating with the external, but also with the internal target groups. The PR manager is responsible for organizing, guiding and coordinating activities that should generate free publicity. The responsibilities of a PR manager often coincide with those of a communications manager. Social media is one of the channels that is becoming increasingly important for the PR manager.

Goals of PR

The objective of PR depends on the company implementing the PR strategy. As the target audience of each company is different, each PR goal is different. The general goal of PR is to build a good reputation and a strong relationship between the company and the internal or external target audience. As a result, companies hope to generate an increase in revenue and gain an edge over their competition in terms of visibility.

Tools of a PR manager

With the rise of social media, the tools available to a PR manager have greatly expanded. As the target audience of a company can be easily reached through social media, PR managers make heavy use of social media. The media types in which PR can be used are summarized in the PESO model. The P(aid), E(arned), S(hared), O(wned) model describes four types of media. Paid media is media attention that the company pays for itself. Earned media is the media attention that the public gives to a company. Shared media is what the company shares on social media and the share actions from it. Owned media is all media over which the company has control. A PR manager can use all types of media for the PR strategy. Usually, a PR manager focuses primarily on earned channels, as these are independent news media.

Future of PR

Due to the ever-changing relationship between the public and the media, it is almost certain that PR will continue to change. Where social media is currently the most important PR tool, it was once traditional media, and this could be different again in the future. Companies will continue to improve their reputation and image, so the PR field will certainly not die out, only the form in which PR is used will change.

Editorial Attention

Companies spend a large part of their budget on advertisements, however a similar result can be achieved through the use of PR. By sending press releases to relevant publications, your company will be brought to the attention of your target audience. Journalists will discuss your company in their articles, blogs or broadcasts, which leads to attention from potential customers.

Who is PR suitable for?

The use of PR is suitable for any company. It is important to share news around which a PR campaign can be built. In addition, transparency is required, companies must be willing to share a piece of themselves with the public. Last but not least, companies need to be willing and able to invest time in their PR campaigns. Setting up a successful PR campaign can take some time, but it is a nice way to save on advertising costs.

What is the suitable PR Agency?

If PR is suitable for your business, companies often opt to hire a PR Agency after comparing the options. There are many types of PR Agencies, such as those that focus on a wide sector or those who specialize in PR for a certain field. Presscloud is a great alternative, making these PR Agencies largely obsolete. Companies who use Presscloud are able to take back control of their PR, save money, and become more efficient with their PR strategies.


With the rise of social media, companies are using their own platforms to share their PR campaigns. Companies are posting on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Presscloud makes it even easier to share PR campaigns with relevent journalists by providing companies access to categorized contact lists. It is a great tool to spread the awareness of your company’s PR campaign without the hassle of hiring an PR Agency.

What media can you use?

There are many types of media that can be utilized in your PR campaign. One of the most common ways to spread a PR campaign is through an independent news media. The most traditional way of utilizing this type of PR is writing a press release and sharing it with journalists. Presscloud makes it even easier to get your press release to the right people by delivering it to relevant journalists.

What do you do in case of a PR disaster?

In some cases, PR does not always result in positive publicity. This can have serious consequences for companies who do not know how to handle it. A company, for example, might suffer from a damaged reputation if their company is seen in a negative light. One of the most important aspects of handling a PR disaster is by being transparent to the general public. This way, the consequences of a PR fail can be limited. Companies who do not know how to handle a damaged reputation will rarely come out on top.

What is the difference between content marketing and PR?

PR is not an alternative for content marketing and content marketing cannot replace PR entirely. Let PR be part of your content marketing strategy in order to make your brand more visible. PR is often the form of content that allows companies to be seen in independent news media, so this hero content is not as common as other forms of content.

No news but a good story with sex appeal

Do you currently have no news on the shelf? No worries. Not all PR content has to be news. Did you know that news content can sometimes also be practical content, in which you share tips? Or that you can share existing stories with new audiences? With a bit of creativity, your PR calendar remains well filled with attractive stories.

Surfing the media is serving the media

It is important for companies to realize that when there is important news, journalists find it interesting to discuss it in an article or blog. That is why it is important that your company continues to focus on PR. If a press release matches the target audience and the medium for which it is intended, it will more often lead to publications. Keep an eye on the news and look for relevant articles to hook into. Take a field trip from your organization from time to time, like Ralph van Hessen from Winkelman van Hessen suggests.

PR agencies in the new decade

Do you not know where to start with PR? Presscloud is the solution for this. PR appears to be inaccessible for many companies, especially for startups and SMEs. This is because PR agencies are quite expensive and not very transparent. Those who get started with PR often do not know how to do it. Things can be different and better. That is why Presscloud was founded. Presscloud is the most complete toolkit for PR. You will find relevant Dutch journalists in a convenient overview. Create your own Newsroom on Presscloud, so that journalists can make a nice story about your brand right away. Presscloud also teaches you everything about PR. A PR strategy comes from within a company and Presscloud fits in with this.

Tips for your PR strategy

Whoever wants to get started with PR should ask themselves which stories journalists would find interesting in their organization. That you are launching a new product or opening a new branch may be less interesting. Always ask yourself: do I ever read this kind of stories in this kind of media? Develop a vision about your industry. Do research about your target audience. To sum up these tips for your PR strategy: develop distinctive and objective knowledge and share this with journalists. This will result in a successful PR strategy.

How unique is your story?

Companies want to stand out from their competition. Yet it still happens often that companies imitate others in their external communication. No matter how appealing a competitor’s story was, try to be original. What you can do, is to borrow content from other industries or countries. Are you a construction company and do you see a cool campaign from a mediator? Why not just take over that content and use it for a different target group?

Decisions are made based on gut feeling

While consumers appreciate staying updated on all information related to the company, businesses should also focus on the emotional aspect of their business. Companies that stand out in the media and are seen as an expert by the journalists, will also be more trusted by the consumers. Ultimately, media plays a sort of gatekeeper role. If the journalists trust your brand, a lot of your potential customers will also do so.

A good story gives a good feeling

Playing on the emotions of the consumers is something that allows the business to stand out among the competition. By using personal storytelling, they are a step ahead when it comes to their customers, as they create a bond with them. This way, it is important to make sure that the story of the business is shaped in a way that is close to the values of the company. A popular example is the story of the founders of a company. A personal dream or mission makes a story much more appealing.

PR strategy as a magic formula

PR has become one of the most important marketing strategies, often seen as the tool used to reflect the reputation of the company with its identity. Creating a PR strategy is definitely no easy task. But don't be scared by the empty Word document from which your PR plans need to rise. These eight questions help you on your way to shape a PR strategy.

  1. Who is my target audience?
  2. What is my expertise?
  3. What are the challenges of my target audience?
  4. What convinces my target audience?
  5. Which media does my target audience read?
  6. Can I vary the forms of content?
  7. How can I keep getting into the news?
  8. Can I measure the effect of PR?

Article: https://presscloud.ai/nl/pr-academy/acht-vragen-om-jouw-pr-strategie-vorm-te-geven

Below, you can discover how to set up a PR strategy yourself.

PR Strategy

Creating a PR strategy is certainly no sinecure. But don’t be intimidated by the blank Word document from which your PR plans will arise. These eight questions will help you on your way to crafting a PR strategy.

Who is my target audience?

First of all, ask yourself who your target audience is. Although you might have developed a product or service that you would love to sell to the entire world, it pays to limit yourself to a single target audience initially. By focusing primarily on a single target audience, you can come up with a plan for how to reach that audience. So, be selective in the beginning: focus on entrepreneurs, HR professionals, or freelancers, for example.

What is my expertise?

Many highly educated people suffer from the same malady: they think they know everything. That's not bad, it's very human. But it also creates a challenge: if you think you have an opinion or vision about many topics, you are not recognizable. Always strive to be a "big fish in a small pond". In other words, claim (part of) a domain, be recognizable on a certain theme and carry out a specific vision. Until it bores you and you think it might wear out your audience: it often takes a long time (longer than you hope) for you to be recognizable on a certain theme.

What are the challenges of my target audience?

Content only scores if it is relevant to your target audience. Asking yourself what the challenges of your target audience are makes it clear which content helps them. So also organize trend conversations with all departments in your organization. Sales colleagues (if done correctly) do nothing but start conversations with (potential) customers. They also have a great insight into the content needs of your target group.

What convinces my target audience?

A content calendar starts with the question: what would my target audience like to know? But you also want to share information about your company. So also ask yourself the question: what do I want my target audience to know about our organization? What content is convincing? Think of messages about new business or a collaboration with a leading partner. Utilize such ambassadors (social proof) and make them part of your content calendar. Also report about the arrival of new colleagues: it shows that your organization is in motion - or, in other words: growth is taking place.

Which media does my target audience read?

There is a mistake that entrepreneurs and marketers often make. Do you want to know what it is? We often think that the target audience will read the same media as ourselves. While this does not always have to be the case. In fact, it is unlikely that your target audience reads the same media as you.

If you have started up a startup in the event sector, you follow media that writes about startups and about events. But your target audience - event professionals - probably will not follow media about startups. They will be occupied with events, so mainly media about events - and in very limited measure media about startups or entrepreneurship.

Can I alternate between different forms of content?

Ideally, your content calendar should have variety. You write press releases that share interesting market insights, tips, how-tos, announce new customers, share a survey, or respond to news. Here you can take five forms of news for inspiration.

Strive not to repeat two forms of news too often (or ideally, never). Change of pace; media will be more interested in different forms of news alternating with each other.

How can I come into the news more often?

How can you make the best use of publicity in a magazine, website, radio or TV program? Many companies share the publicity they have achieved on their own channels. For example, they write a blog about it on their website. Or they just share the link to the publication or interview.

Can I measure the effect of PR?

There are several ways to measure the success of PR:

  • An increase in the number of visitors to your website;
  • An increase in the number of newsletter subscriptions on your site;
  • More requests from journalists;
  • An increase in the number of publications.

PR is a long-term investment. A good PR message does not result in a new customer overnight - also because B2B sales processes are lengthy. By inquiring about how a potential customer came to know your organization (through Google, through an article in the media or by word of mouth), you can somewhat determine the influence of PR on sales.

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