Public Relations usually gets its whispered mentions in conversations about marketing, communications, advertising, crisis management and the like. While most folks would agree that much of that list a necessary and even important part of business function, sometimes PR seems more like a play-cousin. Nice to have, but not essential.

But what about in your particular case? What’s in it for you or your [insert just about any type of business here]? Do you even need PR, or is it reserved for the Fortunate 500, Jolie-Pitts’, or clients of Pope and Associates?

At its core, Public Relations is simply (as penned by my wise professor Sheldon Rose) “Doing good things and telling others about it”.

Here are a few basics of PR and how it can indeed be of use to you (yes, you!):

1. PR will help you communicate better with your audience(s)

Allow me to go academic for a second. The Canadian Public Relations Society defines Public Relations as:

“the strategic management of relationships between an organization and its diverse publics, through the use of communication, to achieve mutual understandingrealize organizational goals and serve the public interest.”

In short, PR helps you identify your peeps and speak to them properly. Whether your biz is B2B, service or product offering, or charity, having public relations as part of your overall success plan eases the process and ensures it’s built on a solid foundation. PR folks can help you make sense of your goals, express those goals in a way that captures your core values in your unique voice, craft them into an outcome-driven plan, and then share them in a way that each one of your audiences not only understands, but is drawn to.

2. PR will help you avoid becoming the next negative hashtag

Just about every week, another brand finds itself in the news for all the wrong reasons. For the most part, the problem seems to be a lack of diversity in the decision-making process. People are missing from the table. It’s PR’s business to make sure you not only identify each of your stakeholders (see point 1 ya’ll) but that you also uncover those you may have missed or may have been ignoring. Paying attention to everyone with a stake in what you do, will ensure you stay on the pulse, and the right track.

3. PR will help you evangelise your Big Idea

Above we mentioned communications, marketing, and advertising plans, and by now you’re getting that PR should absolutely be part of that mix. The key is that PR is a path to marrying the focus of each of these areas into a smooth succinct flow across multiple platforms. That means through media, social, digital, traditional and everything in between. Identify the core value you have to offer, and use PR to share that with the world – clearly and consistently – all the while feeding your bottom line.

4. PR will help you keep your integrity

To point back to point 2 (yeah, I know, I do that a lot), the way a lot of business and brands end up in trouble is through oversight. Sometimes it’s glaring, but many times it’s subtle and has happened over time. You’ve moved away from your core messaging and purpose, your initial convictions, or can’t quite remember the original goal – basically the likely super-simple and pure reason you started your business. Well this falls into PRs wheelhouse too. Ethics is an enormous piece of the PR pie. Despite lingering negative stereotypes, it is the job of good PR folks to ensure that every action, strategy, and tactic under their umbrella, is done with integrity and with ethics at its core. Having someone with this focus on your team can help keep all of those moving pieces on the up and up, and it’ll be handy to have a voice like that in the war room.

5. This isn’t really 5.

Instead it’s a handy list of what PR is not, so that when (that’s right, no ‘ifs’ up in here) you add PR to the mix, you’ll be BFFs with your PR pro by lunch.