What does a PR company do?

A PR company promotes their clients through media coverage that is effectively “earned” rather than “paid” for.


Businessman (stock image)
Businessman (stock image)

A PR company promotes their clients through media coverage that is effectively “earned” rather than “paid” for; as is the case with advertisements. Both PR and advertising agencies hold similar goals in mind, this being to promote their clients via the media. Whilst both types of agencies do hold this one common goal, the ways in which they achieve this goal are vastly different.

The way in which a PR company promotes clients in this “earned” way is through a variety of different techniques; including extensive research, developing captivating pitches, and more recently, often managing the influencer relationships. Those listed are just a few of the many different tasks managed and monitored by a PR company.

PR companies also work across specific industries and therefore will aim to earn media in specific industries including beauty, fashion, sports and many more (read more), which allows clients of PR companies to specify where and how they would like to be placed, a valuable bonus.

Researching a Client’s Target Market

Researching a client’s target market is one of the most important aspects of their promotion. It helps the PR agency to examine the audience for the client, and develop their promotion strategy accordingly so that it caters to this group.

Once research of the client’s target market has taken place, a PR company will then be able to build up a more accurate picture of the type of person they are targeting their promotions to. Some of the main features PR companies will take into account when researching a client’s target market include the following:

  • Income
  • Interests
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Aspirations

The types of features PR companies will want to collect about their client’s target audience will depend entirely on the client and what is being promoted. Once this audience has been identified, a PR agency can then target the publications that best cater to this audience demographic, and create a list of editors to reach out to.

PR agencies determine the type of publications that will best cater to their audience demographic through what they are trying to promote; i.e. whether this would be better suited to more local or more national publications, highbrow, e-material or paper etc.

Once thorough research into the target audience and thereby the most relevant publications has been established, PR companies will then begin to reach out to these publications and pitch to them.

Developing a Captivating Pitch

When reaching out to the set list of relevant publications, PR companies will have to provide these publications with a compelling pitch. This is vital to better the chances of success that the publications will cover what the client is wanting to promote. Part of what a PR company does therefore includes creating pitches that captivate the right publications and promote the client well.

The pitches developed between the PR company and the client are typically based around their products, new product releases, announcements about the clients, and related news and topics. As with the target audience and publications, pitches will be tailored entirely around the client and what they are trying to promote.

PR companies will then share this pitch with the set list of targeted publications, hoping to convince them to share the client’s promotional content on their platforms. These pitches are usually sent out in emails, with follow ups commonly being done over the phone. PR companies organize the outreaching process, generating and further maintaining a good relationship with the media in order to gain coverage.

Organizing High-Profile Events and Opportunities

As well as researching target audiences, press lists, and developing high-quality pitches, PR companies also play a vital role in organizing the high-profile events and opportunities for their clients. For example, with many serviced offices and shared workspaces popping up in cities like New York and London, with all the benefits they bring (read more), PR companies often arrange days where freelancers can use the offices in question on a complementary basis, encouraging them to mention and share reviews of their time spent there; this helps to earn many mentions and placements online.

Trade shows, and events designed by the PR agency are other events often organized to help promote the public image of the client, whist undertaking some strong outreach. With trade shows, the client’s PR company is responsible for finding these suitable opportunities, as well as writing up press releases and organizing all of the other media aspects to make sure events run effectively and efficiently.

In more recent years, some PR companies have also branched out into influencer relations. What this means is that PR agencies promote their clients not only through publications, but also via influencers and the social media platforms that they work through. As consumers now navigate much of their everyday lives online (and therefore through social media), branching out into influencer relations is what some in the PR industry deem important in helping to effectively boost a client’s publicity.