I’ll be honest, when I first sat down and tried to decide what it is I was going to write about public relations, I had to ask myself, what is public relations? And the truth is, it was hard to explain. So I had to do a little bit of research myself so I could come up with the most important parts about pubic relations and why it’s important to understand what people in public relations really do and why is it important.
- Public Relations is about Public Relations
The public part implies the inclusion of things like public affairs, community relations, investor relations, public press conferences, media events, internal communications and crisis communications. But it also involves a lot of non-public activity. Entrepreneur gives a in-depth look of what public relations is behind-the-scenes, involving the writing of press releases, coordinating media contacts for an event or conference, securing credentials, conduct market research, or lobbying for article placement.
The Princeton Review states
“At its core, public relations is about cultivating, influencing, engaging and maintaining a relationship with key stakeholders to contribute to the way an organization is perceived.”
And this is true in the ways I listed in the paragraph above, public relations isn’t always about fixing a companies image after a crisis, it’s about creating relationships before and after; it’s about portraying a company or person the way they want to be perceived.
2. Public Relations is different than Advertising
Forbes gives a great spiel about the difference, stating that “Advertising is paid media, public relations is earned media…” This means that instead of your story appearing in the “paid media” section in magazines, newspapers, TV stations, or website, it’s going to appear in the editorial section. Your story now has more credibility because it was independently verified by a trusted party instead of purchased by the company.
A recent study done by Nielsen, and commissioned by inPowered concluded that
“50 percent indicated that they wouldn’t trust a product’s branded website for an unbiased assessment of a product, and 61 percent were less likely to trust product reviews paid for by the company selling the product.”
So, public relations is in some ways, even more important that advertising. Advertising tells you want you want to hear. Public Relations tells you want you need to hear. However, in public relations, you don’t have the creative control over your image like advertising does and you have no control over how the media will present your image if they decide to present you at all. They are not obligate to publish your press release just because you sent it to them.
3. Social Media is Necessary, But it Will Not Replace Traditional Media.
Do not post your press release through social media. Boring doesn’t work on social media; it’s not going to attract any attention and few will interact with the piece at all. There’s still a difference between a quote on twitter, and a quote in The New York Times.
Be creative. Come up with a quirky tweet, film a minute long video for Instagram, post an image or video on Facebook, anything that is fun and interactive but also gets your message across to your audience. You can always include a link to more information in your post. Bit.ly urls are a gift, use them! Especially for tweets, you’ll still have 107 characters left in your tweet.
So, wether your starting a company, rebranding, or working for a company, it’s good to understand what public relations is and why it’s important–if not more important–than advertising. Now go out and take on the PR world!
Brisson, H., & Hay, M. (2014). The Role of Content(Rep.). http://www.inpwrd.com/the_role_of_content_inpowered.pdf
Lautenslager, A. (2003, November 16). Why You Need PR. Retrieved September 06, 2017, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/65672
Public Relations. (n.d.). Retrieved September 06, 2017, from https://www.princetonreview.com/careers/171/public-relations
Wynne, R. (2016, January 23). Five Things Everyone Should Know About Public Relations. Retrieved September 06, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwynne/2016/01/21/five-things-everyone-should-know-about-public-relations/#
Wynne, R. (2014, July 08). The Real Difference Between PR And Advertising. Retrieved September 06, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwynne/2014/07/08/the-real-difference-between-pr-and-advertising-credibility/