I’m often asked by friends, family and people who’re unaware of the nature of my work, what public relations is so felt this would be an appropriate topic forthe first blog on my brand-new website.

I usually kick off my explanation by telling them the difference between PR and marketing – that marketing is primarily about promoting products or services while PR is about managing reputation. In essence it’s the outcome of what you do, what you say, and what others say about you.

It can be used by organisations to build relationships and gain the trust and understanding of stakeholders, regardless of whether these stakeholders are customers, employees, investors, the local community, an industry group, even the government.

So how exactly do PR professionals go about building this trust and safeguarding reputation?

Tactics can include positive coverage in mainstream media, social media activity, lobbying, speaking at conferences, online viral campaigns, sponsorships and can vary from short-term campaigns, such as product or company launches, to longer-term campaigns such as building brand and working with local communities.

Given that employees are an organisation’s most potent PR weapon, tactics can include keeping staff engaged and informed. Similarly by knowing who your stakeholders are and by taking their issues and interests into consideration when making key decisions, you can go a long way towards maintaining a rock solid reputation.

Finally good PR is about effectively managing a crisis. How you handle a crisis can make the difference between long-term business success and tragic failure and a reputation in tatters.

In my next blog I will begin looking at these tactics individually and in much greater detail.