Ask the PR Experts

Got a public relations question? Ask the PR experts!

Our team has more than 70 years combined experience in public relations, media and digital communications across a number of sectors. There’s not much that will have passed us by. Here are some of the PR questions we get asked regularly.

If we have not got your question or answer here then fill in our Contact Form and we will get back to you as soon as possible – and add your question to our list.

Public relations is the business of protecting an organisation’s reputation.

The CIPR defines PR as being about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.

Public Relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.

An organisation is a government body, a business, a profession, a public service or a body concerned with health, culture, education – indeed any corporate or voluntary body large or small. ‘Publics’ are audiences that are important to the organisation. They include customers – existing and potential; employees and management; investors; media; government; suppliers; opinion-formers.

‘Understanding’ is a two-way process. To be effective, an organisation needs to listen to the opinions of those with whom it deals and not solely provide information. Issuing a barrage of propaganda is not enough in today’s open society.

PR not only protects and enhances your reputation, but it also gets you noticed. If you want people reading about you or talking about you then PR is what will get you attention in a carefully managed way. PR professionals will work with you on defining your target audiences and then use the most appropriate channels and media to communicate with them.

This could be through channels such as social media, on-line, trade press or traditional newspapers, magazines and broadcasters.

To find out more about channels and how to choose between paid for media, earned media and owned media have a look at our Services page.

Your customers, clients, shareholders, employees, supporters and others want to be associated with an organisation or company because of its reputation.

If they don’t trust you or like you then the chances are they won’t want to be associated with you or do business with you in the long term.

PR will reinforce your brand values – whether that is expertise, trustworthiness, reliability, friendliness, professionalism, customer focus, safety, reliability, consistency, innovative, aspirational, progressive, distinctive and so on.

Just having those values in your business is not enough – your customers, clients, shareholders, employees, supporters and others need to know about them through sustained, creative communications techniques. See our Services page for more information on how you can do this.

The chances are you are already doing some PR – I expect you have produced a website and filled it with relevant-ish content, you update social media now and again and you have entered the odd award here and there.

All these things are out of the PR toolbox, but a bit like the four wheels on a car if they are turning at different speeds, trying to go in slightly different directions and a little unco-ordinated you are not going to get the results you want.

A PR professional in your team or an agency hired to support the business will bring that co-ordination to your PR output that brings consistency to your communication, whether on-line or off-line, and will build the relationship with journalists and key opinion formers and influencers that can make the difference to your business.

Can you do it yourself? You can, but you are probably busy enough running the business to keep your PR co-ordinated too, and that is where an agency can step in. If you want to know more about what we can do for you Contact Us.

It is important to have PR in your budget for the year – you will not achieve sustained effort or consistency if you just do a bit here and there, and that means you will not get the results you want.

PR professionals like us at Briscoe French sell our time and expertise to our clients by the day on a month-by-month basis. Some clients want 10 or 12 days work per month while others want three or four days.

If you are just starting out with PR and want to start small you should probably budget for £1,500 per month, but if you are ambitious and have  big targets to hit or a lot of work to get done you should budget for £2,500 or more per month.

As with everything, the more you put in the more you get out. So if you can find more budget for your PR team they will produce even better results against your objectives.

We tailor our work to fit a client’s needs.

If it’s social media updates, blog posts and website content that you need, that’s what we’ll do. If competitor research, traditional media relations and trade press is the best way to target your audience, we will do that too.

We can also offer training or crisis planning if that is what you need.

We find out what you need by having a meeting with you at least monthly where we we will talk you through what we have done and achieved for you in the past month, and then look ahead to what we have got planned for the next period.

Our activity pipeline will show you what we have planned for forthcoming months too.

When you put your reputation in the hands of someone else you need to know they will treat it with the respect it deserves.

Here’s how we can prove our worth:

Industry regulated – we are members of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and have chosen to be bound by national standards and ethics that are in the best interests of our clients. It’s a stamp of quality against our work and gives you a channel for recourse if something goes wrong.

Experience – our team has decades of experience working for household name organisations in the region and nationally.

Award-winning – we were named as the CIPR Wessex region Outstanding Small Consultancy of the Year in 2012 and have been finalists or won awards with our clients every year since.

Continuous training – we make it compulsory for all our team members to update their skills and knowledge through the CIPR structured continuous professional development scheme. So be aware – not all PR people are the same. Find out more about our team’s experience and the CIPR code of conduct.

Appearing in newspapers and magazines, both online and off-line, as well as on the radio and TV is still amazingly valuable to any brand. The third party authority and endorsement that comes from earning space in a publication or on the air cannot be beaten.

Of course newspaper and magazine sales are falling so the role of media relations in your PR strategy may be diminishing, but you ignore it at your peril. While there is so much you can do with your own media and with paid-for media, you won’t get the same level of authority that you get from  the coverage that you have earned by telling a good story.

Your PR strategy should include a mix of communications outputs that meet the needs of your target audience. Media Relations should still play a part in that.

You can find out more about earned, paid for and owned media on our Services page.

There are a few simple rules for what you should put in a press release. Following these pointers will save your time and the time of the journalist on the receiving end.

Before you press the send button just ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • What is happening?
  • Why is it significant?
  • Where and when is it happening?
  • Who is involved?

You should also think about including a good quality photo along with a caption about what and who is in it, plus information about spokespeople that the journalist can contact for more information and an interview.

If you need a hand writing press releases then get in touch or find out about some of the courses we run to empower you to get it right first time and every time

If the thought of having a microphone or camera being put in front of your face or getting a call from a reporter makes your mouth go dry then you are not alone.

But being prepared to talk to the media is a must if you want to raise awareness about what you do. Here’s how:

Prepare – always take time to do some mental preparation before you agree to an interview. Doing things off the cuff is never a good idea unless you’re very experienced.

Ask questions – Find out why the reporter is calling and what they want to cover. What’s made them get in touch with you for an interview? Get as many details as possible. Then agree a time to ring them back.

Take the time you need – if you need longer to get to the bottom of why the reporter is calling don’t be afraid to explain that.

Write down your key messages – always prepare no more than three points you really want to get across in any radio, TV or newspaper interview. The points need to be pithy and not too long. Look for opportunities to drop them into the interview.

If you’re daunted by the thought of talking to the media then we can help. We offer media training to help you understand how interviews are put together, how you can stay calm and get your points across and some tips on the practical things to think about to make sure you come across well.

Yes it has, and it has made the opportunities for brands so much more exciting by opening up new communications channels with target audiences.

When media relations was the main way for brands to communicate it was very much one-way. Now with social media, blogging, direct communications between customers and brands the opportunities are endless.

It is now possible to have a truly participatory relationship with your audience, and if you can manage that then the reputation of your brand can be unbeatable.

PR manages those communications across all the platforms with medium and long term objectives to achieve.