A public relations professional is someone that works to uphold the reputation of a company and improve public opinion around that brand. This can involve a large range of tasks and roles which are described here. A public relations professional is someone who deals with the press, marketing departments and more in order to manage a company or individual’s public image. This may be as a part of a PR company, or it might be as an inhouse specialist. Either way, the PR professional’s job is to ensure that the company looks good and that the public is aware of the important news that said company wants to share.
Public Relations Activities
Public relations professionals can achieve these things in various ways:
- Press releases – these update members of the press about company activities and hopefully gain free coverage for those companies.
- Interviews – PR professionals might organize interviews for company representatives
- Conferences – A PR company can organize a conference for a company or an individual in order to answer questions (press conference) or just to announce news.
- Statements – A PR professional may be required to release a statement on behalf of a company or individual to respond to a PR crisis, or to deal with
Today, there is another form of PR which is unique to the digital era. That is Online Reputation Management – ORM is the process of managing a company’s reputation online. This means considering things like reviews but also looking at running company blogs and using SEO to help bring more positive news stories to the forefront.
Another aspect of PR is communications. Communications essentially entails all communication with the press, clients, share holders and other interested parties.
Dealing With a Crisis
Among other things, a public relations professional will be charged with dealing with PR crises. A PR crisis is any event that can have a catastrophic impact on public opinion surrounding a brand. This might mean bad press, it might mean leaked information, or it might be an on site injury.
In the case of a PR crisis, professionals will handle the fallout and help the company to manage its reputation going forward. This might mean releasing a statement, taking positive action or launching a new marketing campaign.
Dealing With Reputation Online
When most companies and brands look at the internet, they will see opportunity. The web offers opportunity for sure – in terms of marketing, in terms of communication and in terms of work flow. Digital tools can help us to cut overheads, to reach wider (and more targeted) customers, to manage our contacts and leads and to streamline production.
But while all that is true, it’s also important to recognize the dangers that the internet can pose for your business. The web is a double edged sword for companies for sure and one of the biggest threats it poses is to your reputation.
Think about it: if it’s so easy for you to spread a positive message about your brand, it also stands to reason that negative messages could also spread that quickly. This is a big potential problem and something you need to be protecting yourself against right now. Read on to learn how you can do that with the right strategy.
Why Do Bad Reviews and Comments Matter?
Now you might be asking whether this really matters. So what if you have a few bad reviews?
If that’s the case then it’s time to wake up. A recent study by Convergys Corp showed that a single negative review could cost an average business a loss of 30 customers. If you’re making $20 from each customer, then that’s $600 lost every time a bad review finds its way onto the net! In keeping with this 80% of those surveyed said they would be likely to choose another product or service based on a single bad review.
But the effects of a bad review can go beyond this too – to the point of being very hard to quantify in fact. On top of the direct results a bad review can have, you also have to consider the more subtle effects. For instance, consider how a bad review might somewhat color a customer’s impression of your product or service. Or think about how one bad review might beget more bad reviews, creating a domino effect of negativity.
Think about how someone might talk in a forum about how ‘X product isn’t very good’ – even if they’re never actually used it! Bad news travels fast… On some sites, negative reviews can even impact your search ranking and overall visibility!
But you don’t need to worry about bad reviews! Your products and services are flawless! Everyone loves you… right?
Where Bad Reviews and Misinformation Come From
Sure, that might be true on the whole, but it’s important not to rest on your laurels even if it’s been smooth sailing so far. After all, the very nature of online reviews means that negative opinions are more likely to make themselves known. Why? Because writing a review online takes time. The vast majority of customers won’t be bothered unless their experience is either extremely positive, or extremely negative. And guess which is the bigger motivating factor?
And while the customer is ‘always right’, you’re always going to encounter one or two who have unreasonable expectations or who plain don’t understand the industry they’re getting themselves involved in.
While you might hope this doesn’t happen, sometimes you can also find that your competition try to get ahead of you by publishing bad reviews or running smear campaigns. You need to ensure that you have some form of self-defence ready in case this should happen.
Then there’s misinformation. On top of bad reviews, you also need to contend with reviews that are just plain wrong – that misinform other buyers leading them to either look elsewhere, or be disappointed with the service they receive.