English Insights

Public Relations vital during turmoil

By Shonel Perera

Public Relations (PR) can assist you in building and maintaining a successful and positive public image of your business. At the core of the form of communication is where effective dialogue comes into play. It includes the using of topics which are able to grab public interest and publishing news items on platforms that do not require any payment to access.

Across Sri Lanka, small- and medium-sized businesses conduct PR campaigns every day or week with minimal investments. Whether you’re a small-business owner or an entrepreneur, PR can help level the playing field between you and your bigger and even at times, better competition. This is done strategically and through the use of a set plan.


Your publicity effort should have an angle to make it unique. The messaging should appeal to the media and the target public, and should work around the current situation especially with the outbreak spreading largely. Advertisements appeal to only one audience and do not reach a broader audience.


When you advertise, you have almost total control over the content, format, timing, and size of your message. You specify how big your advertisement is and the times it runs. With public relations however you have almost no control over the content, format, timing, and size of your message as it dependent on many variables. This is not the time to force your products or services down your consumers throat. It is a time where you need to communicate empathy and to communicate what is only necessary. Make sure the content is relevant, accurate and to the point.


People are even more skeptical of advertising now. Advertisements, at present, are with a grain of salt when it comes to believing the content. However, when it comes to news related content on TV, Radio or newspapers, people are more inclined to believe in it as the notion in the country is that that if it runs in the news it must be true. This is because publicity is promotion disguised in an editorial, feature piece, or news.

The same credibility is becoming tarnished through the use of influencers. Brands have over used and have lost the plot in using influencers to promote your story. Rather than the story brands consider influencers as living advertisements.

Below are some effective public relations strategies that will help guide you to a successful campaign to boost the public view of your organization.

Know Your Audiences

Understand and segregate your audience so that your message can gain the feedback it needs. All audiences are not the same. You can reach some through promotional events, others through social media and some others through networking events. Whatever content you generate should have your audiences in mind and present accordingly.

Get Organized

PR is achieved through a planned and continuous set of activities. You will need a calendar to organize your activities.

Work with an Efficient Team

First off you will need to set up a dedicated agency for your PR efforts. Your selected PR Consultancy will help you add value to your messaging, provide feedback and help you distribute your messages. Always think about the strategic intent rather than mushroom low cost consultancies. Remember PR is long term and much more than getting x number of clippings in y number of papers and z has not picked it up.

Enhance Your Online Presence

In a world where individuals are connected digitally, you need an online presence to reach to your customers. You need to be on social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn Instagram and Twitter are great mediums to reach your target publics.

Know your Competition

The key to any successive business is to strengthen your comparative competitiveness. Your business, and every team within it, must have a source of competitive advantage. Understanding, identifying, creating, and sustaining a competitive advantage is at the heart of a good strategy.

Create compelling content

Public relations is about sharing the right information to the right people at the right place at the right time in the right tone. This helps build your brand and brand reputation. You need to use the language that appeals most to the target publics, the desires of them and things that resonate with them. Compelling content should include elements of curiosity, urgency, relevancy, value and emotion. Check in with your selected agency and make sure these are included. An experienced PR consultancy would carry out these strategically.

Create Impact

All your PR exercises needs to create impact and value. Most brand tend to forget this and merge the two with Advertising. What impact do you make withing your stakeholders? is the question you should really ask yourselves…

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