Understanding and doing Press & PR in Australia

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Press & PR Environment

As in many markets, the PR sector in Australia covers a range of areas including media relations, internal communications, government relations and public affairs, publicity and events, crisis and issues management, financial PR and social media communications.

Within the media sector, there has been considerable fragmentation as a result of increasing use of online digital media with traditional forms of media (newspapers, TV, radio etc) declining and consolidating. Within traditional media, there has been a reduction in the employment level of journalists in recent years. Online media content such as social media & blogs, discussion forums, video sharing and social networking sites are now a key focus for PR communications.  Australia has one of the highest levels of smartphone and tablet penetration and usage globally, thus a PR firm's ability to engage social media, digital TV, SMS and mobile is crucial.

Journalists need to cover more with less time and will often have specific interests. As such, if the story hits the mark, journalists are keen for an exclusive and there may be increased competition as a result.  An understanding of a journalist's or publication's issues and interests and having relationships are therefore very important.

PR Firms in Australia

Australia has a healthy, growing and broad PR sector ranging from major global firms to smaller specialist and niche firms.  Many Australian firms are now owned by - or aligned with - global PR and marketing firms and can therefore provide integrated campaigns across various media and geographic markets. These firms may also provide a range of other marketing services such as advertising and media buying and market research. There is also a large and vibrant industry of smaller, boutique and independent PR firms.

Strong economic growth and prosperity has led to increased interest from foreign investors across all sectors of the economy.  There is also foreign inward investment in a number of contentious areas which drives an increased requirement for PR services in order to influence public and political opinion and policy decisions in these sectors. These include areas of the mining, construction, property development, infrastructure and agricultural sectors. Environmental issues are also an important area to be addressed given keen interest from both community and national environmental groups.

Finding a PR Firm

The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) is the national industry body for the public relations and communications sector in Australia. PRIA have a database of qualified PR firms which can be searched by industry, specialty and location. PRIA membership is restricted to firms that meet specific qualification and experience requirements and members must comply with the PRIA Code of Ethics.

DIY PR

DIY or "assisted-DIY" may be an option for firms without the budget to fully engage a PR firm. This does require some time and effort in understanding the media landscape in relation to your specific market. Getting the pitch or story aligned with relevant hot or trending topics relevant to the publications' or journalists' interests is very important. Ensuring the press release is well written and engaging with the appropriate media contacts is paramount. There are firms, service providers and platforms that offer specific services for firms who may only need assistance with one or two specific aspects of their press and PR requirements. As in other markets, media lists & databases are also available to purchase.

Regulations

A number of regulations need to be considered when promoting or advertising products or services in Australia. Firms must not engage in misleading or deceptive conduct and must ensure that any branding, statement, quote or any other representation is not false or misleading.  The use of the ® registered symbol when referring to trade marks is also regulated; companies may use the ® only when marks are fully registered in Australia.

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law and fair trading champion.  Advertising & promoting your business.    Advertising & Selling Guide

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is part of the Australian Government Department of Health and is responsible for regulating therapeutic goods including prescription medicines, vaccines, sunscreens, vitamins and minerals, medical devices (including clothing and garments claiming therapeutic properties), blood and blood products.

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