Murnahan Public Relations’ thorough approach tells your story.

Communications Help When You Need It

Our client-specific approach to public relations helps organizations build trust, amplify their voice, increase visibility and encourage action through the best storytelling techniques – whether it’s on social media, television, radio, or web-based media. Using our thoughtful communications strategies yields major results. Today’s ever-changing communications landscape is noisy. We help penetrate that noise with relevant, easy-to-digest messages, and we determine when and how to reach your target audiences in a way that inspires action. Murnahan Public Relations has a strong background in the industries that make Texas strong.

    What's Your Challenge?

    Communication Services

    What is the role of public relations?

    Public relations is the art of business persuasion. Practitioners work to convince an audience, inside your business, building, or city, and outside your usual circle of influence, to promote your idea, purchase your product, support your position, or recognize your accomplishments. The Public Relations Society of America PRSA agreed upon this definition of PR: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

    PR people are the storytellers of society. They create narratives to advance their agenda, using channels like traditional and social media platforms to promote organizations through positive messages that protect, enhance and build reputations. A good PR practitioner will analyze an organization's message by finding what it is they want to promote most about themselves before translating those messages into compelling stories with a powerful narrative - be it one designed to appeal directly toward customers in order to attract new ones, or towards journalists so as not only get them interested but also convince them that there is something worth writing about in future pieces on this company! When things happen within your industry which you wish didn't exist- like negative news reports- then see these opportunities rather than obstacles.

    The Princeton Review notes that: “At its core, public relations is about cultivating, influencing, engaging and maintaining a relationship with key stakeholders to contribute to the way an organization is perceived. ...the PR professional will typically engage in dialogue and interact with both internal business leaders and executives as well as the broader constituents affected by a company’s product and policies: consumers, shareholders, employees, and the media. ...The content of the work is fluid and there isn’t necessarily a routine day for a PR practitioner. Unforeseen challenges may arise whereby a significant issue, organizational change, material news development, or crisis communications will take precedence over existing daily tasks—monitoring for news, maintaining contacts with journalists, setting up speaking engagements, producing talking points, responding to inquiries, and speaking directly to the press on behalf of a client."

    PR Tools:

    • Press releases - write and distribute
    • Media pitches (less formal than press releases) about an idea for journalists to consider
    • Special events - Create and execute special events designed for public outreach and media relations
    • Speakers Bureaus
    • Speech writing
    • Newsletters
    • Brochures and catalogs
    • Sponsorships and partnerships
    • Employee and external advoacy
    • Enhancing and growing business contacts by way of personal networking, attendance, and sponsoring of events
    • Conduct research on the firm or the firm’s messaging, opposition research
    • Crisis public relations strategies
    • Content development, written blog materials for internal and external sites, podcasts and vlogs, or video podcasts
    • Social media promotions and responses to negative opinions online

    Job descriptions can include responsibilities such as media relations, marketing communications, social media, community relations, special events, crisis management, research, employee communications, government relations, and lobbying.

    Roles that public relations staff often take: Managing earned media and media relations, risk management, reputation management, owned media and content strategy, media monitoring and analysis, internal communications, media training, speechwriter, executive thought leadership, editor, copywriter, photographer, community relations, spokesperson, social media manager, and publicist.

    Objective and Functions Of Public Relations

    The main objective of PR is to improve and maintain a positive reputation of the brand. In addition, to develop strategic relationships with key stakeholders, clients, the public, prospective customers, partners, investors, employees, and other audiences which leads to a positive image of the brand and reflects its earnest values. In some cases, public relations professionals work to find mutually beneficial relationships, including sponsorships and partnerships.

    Drawing people into a story, public relations at its best

    Public relations, after the goal setting, research, and planning is about sharing your story with the people that need to hear it from you. In the process of sharing your story, we work to connect your brand or company to people, and more specifically, to the people who most need to hear the message.

    Public relations is a business function that works to build relationships. PR works to get people to change their behavior, to change people's minds, to build goodwill, and to get people talking. Our goals include making the messages part of everyday communications between friends and colleagues. It is the idea that getting a third party to verify that the product or service is good has a higher value than simply running an ad and hoping it appeals to the buyer.

    We work with news media, influencers, social media, digital channels, civic organizations, employees, and others to ingrain your messages into the dialogue going on in the community. We do all these things first and foremost without paying for their support. One of the bigger differences between PR and advertising is public relations work to earn attention for the brand and advertising pays for their attention.

    For those of you who are curious the press release is not dead, it is also not always needed.

    Crisis or damage-control and chaos management of PR

    Public relations professionals help businesses navigate through a crisis. The staff works to understand the impact actions will have on audiences so as to prevent or minimize negative reactions. When a crisis happens, rely on your crisis communications plan and the experts in relationship management.

    One of the first things they will do is ask to put out a statement, first and most obviously the statement gives everyone a basic understanding of the crisis, second, it buys time to generate a plan to respond to the crisis.

    In addition to working tirelessly on behalf of their company, they also help fight the fires that arise from unexpected circumstances and crises- sometimes created by the employer or unexpectedly happening in the industry or from another outside influence.

    Public relations professionals are more than just glorified marketers for a company looking out for its best interests; it's been shown time and again that PRs work hard at minimizing damage caused by unforeseen events both inside and outside of your organization as well as managing crises when needed (which is not all too often).

    Importance Of Public Relations

    By doing public relations, you build credibility and trust, the foundation of any relationship, for your brand without spending a ridiculous amount of money. PR isn't free, but you are not buying people's sight time or views, which typically belongs to digital marketing and advertising. When people outside your own business talk about you, it influences prospects more so because they have more faith in their first-person interaction over something that can be purchased.

    PR will get you media attention if that is one of your goals. Imagine having a happy customer talking about you while on television or in the newspaper and if you are targeting a younger audience, on a streaming channel like Twitch.

    Third-party attention helps to generate leads.

    There’s an old saying: "Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for."

    Public relations complement your marketing, advertising, and digital activities. Content marketing is a tool that PR often uses in tandem with many others to enhance the SEO performance of a website and support digital marketing tactics. Those pieces of content are often able to be cannibalized into additional stories for media and customers alike.

    Many businesses are competing for attention. Public relations earns your attention, while advertising is often irritating and dismissed as noise. How? By providing and delivering value. 

    A good campaign shares useful, educational, inspiring, or compelling content. Murnahan PR knows how to convey a brand’s higher purpose. 

    Public relations is playing the long game.

    Getting PR on your own is possible, but it takes time to build relationships with journalists. It takes time to develop a speakers bureau, an evergreen story vault, newsletters, contact lists, special event tactics and so much more that each PR rep offers.

    Even if you don't know your own story, a PR firm can help you understand and share it. Hiring a firm that understands what is and isn't newsworthy helps in developing the right tactics needed to share your messages. One key that PR folks work on is being a resource for reporters, local officials, and associations and not just coming to them asking for help or coverage.

    Public Relations Vs Marketing Vs Advertising Vs Digital Marketing

    So what is the relationship between public relations, marketing, advertising, and digital marketing? Although there are similarities, there are also some key differences.

    Probably the most significant difference between public relations, marketing, and advertising is their main focus.

    • Public relations is all about cultivating relationships between an organization or individual and key audiences for the purpose of managing the client’s public image.
    • Marketing emphasizes the promotion of products and services for sales purposes.
    • Advertising is a paid communication function used to incentivize the sale of a product or service.
    • Digital marketing works to ensure that a website or message is managed through SEO, social media management and listening, mobile marketing, and measured with web analytics to ensure that search engines can find the site, despite the terms used by the searcher.

    In today's modern age, the four functions are often overlapping and using each other's tools to round out the goals they set.

    Public Relations Increases Brand Credibility

    Credibility for a business or brand is critical because it influences people’s behavior. As an organization shares its opinion, products, and services with its key public, the businesses are counting on the information to be taken as true, accurate, and at face value. Businesses are trying to avoid being second-guessed or pitted against a competitor. The higher the level of trust created by the brand, the more likely people are to buy the service, recommend the business to their friends, or go back in the future.

    When it comes to credibility, integrity is key. If you are authentic and upfront about who you are right from the start, people will grow more confident in your product or company's quality because they see what they're getting matches up with their expectations.

    The idea of establishing a sense of trustworthiness early on can be quite an advantage for those looking to establish credibility both online and offline as well as build brand loyalty over time among new customers.

    Building personal credibility transfers to your business and the reverse is equally true. For that reason, it is imperative that you have great people working for you. Learn more about personal credibility by reading this Entrepreneur article. Here is one of the recommendations:

    "Do not smile at people as a defense mechanism to cover up your discomfort or to seem pleasing. This lacks credibility and wreaks of insecurity. When you have earned your place in the world, you smile because it is the genuine state of your well-being. People who smile are more successful. To establish your credibility you cannot make time for unnecessary negativity."

    Public Relations Offer Businesses a Competitive Advantage

    If there was ever a reason to develop a public relations strategy, it would be for the competitive advantage provided over the competition. You've heard it already, increased brand trust, better control of the message, crisis and issues management, more exposure through more channels utilizing more tools and tactics, search engine optimization (SEO), as well as offering a big bang for a small budget compared to advertising. In short, public relations enhances your business to everyone that comes into contact with it.

    Bill Gates famously said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” Gates understood the value of a good PR strategy, which is that it offers a cost-effective means to increasing your long-term profit.

    PR Changes The Way People Think About A Business

    In a world where consumers have more choices and opinions than ever before, it’s essential that companies act in an ethical manner. Otherwise, they'll suffer the consequences of negative publicity which can lead to lost customers or even bankruptcy. For example, when Volkswagen was found committing fraud by installing software on vehicles with intent to cheat emissions tests; people were upset enough that VW to sell their cars, stop buying the new VWs, and even filed lawsuits.

    Sometimes, something as simple as the acknowledgment of past mistakes is enough to jump-start the relationship again. A positive campaign featuring what's good about your company is another great way to get public relations off on the right foot! Sometimes it is the steady consistent improved corporate behavior is that is required in order to change past negative opinions. The building or rebuilding of a brand is the work of public relations.

    For a company to have an effective PR strategy, it is important to state its values and stay on message across all channels. When there are negative past events, staying on message and staying positive about the future will set the new tone and over time establish a new positive feeling about the business.

    Sometimes a new branding strategy needs to take place, including a new logo, tag line, corporate values, and so on to ensure that the core products and services can endure after a crisis.

    Ready to Work Together?

    Murnahan Public Relations is ready to learn about your needs to see if we are a good match. Please email or call us at any time to start the ball rolling. In the meantime, here are five things you need to know before hiring a PR firm.

    1. Set your goals first! Do your research and know what to expect from a firm and set your goals before you go in. Then ask what they can do for you!
    2. Know your budget! Set a budget that you are comfortable with. Ask if they do trial periods and if they require contract periods. (I can spend your money, telling us your budget only tells us how big to dream)
    3. Can they do the work necessary? Every firm has its own experience, so be sure to ask if they have the experience necessary for your work.
    4. How will they communicate with you? From the approvals necessary to get work completed to how they will show their results, make sure they know how you want to be communicated with.
    5. Do you like them as individuals? When it comes down to it, if you don't like speaking with them, you probably need to pass. Find a firm where you can work with their staff.

    Lies and Damn Lies

    Public relations is often used as the scapegoats for businesses and politicians and even our colleagues in the media. A good public relations representative is hard to find. They work hard to develop relationships with their media colleagues. so when you have one, don't dismiss them lightly.

    What PR is not:

    • Public relations representatives are not "spin doctors" or "spinmeisters." Those are con-men that want to change your mind through less savory tactics. Spin is just a nice way of saying deception. Our role is to tell our client's stories truthfully.
    • PR is all about press releases and press conferences
    • When the coverage is bad, it’s PR’s fault
    • You need to have great contacts
    • You must always do what clients want
    • PR Results Are Guaranteed
    • Research is not vital for PR
    • Social media rules
    • PR is only needed during a crisis
    • There is no writing involved in PR
    • Once you break through with publicity, you're home free
    • Publicity is free and easy
    • PR results happen instantaneously
    • PR Works In a Vacuum
    •  If you don’t have a story, I don’t need PR (we do so much more, we help you find yours)
    • There’s nothing a PR rep can do that a business owner can’t
    • You need to hire an expensive PR firm
    • Great PR translates directly to sales
    • Good products don't need publicity - Only bad products do
    • Public relations can't be measured and is therefore worthless
    • Digital PR is only about social media
    • PR means schmoozing and controlling the press
    • Only former reporters can do it

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