Public relations is a key component of any successful marketing campaign but perhaps the hardest to define as it takes on many guises in the course of a campaign. The most important advice I can give on PR is to create media outreach that is authentic, that originates from something actually happening within your company or story, rather than try to manufacture news. Good PR only works when the story rings true.

What is the difference between marketing and public relations?

First, I find the two integrally entwined and operate from that premise for my clients. But I do get asked this question a lot and the way I define it is this — marketing efforts are generally aimed at your current and potential customers and designed to illicit an action, usually revenue related. The goal of public relations is to reach a broader audience through outside media, build positive reputation and attract a new audience that would have an interest in what you are doing.

This may be done by the following actions…

Press releases. I could write an entire piece about press releases as the nature and execution of them has changed quite a bit but suffice it to say that this is the act of sending out news about you and your company to media.

Story pitches to media. These are less formal than press releases but are really the crux of PR efforts.

Create and execute special events designed for public outreach and media relations.

Find face-to-face opportunities such as speaking at, attending, or sponsoring events.

Creating content for your blog, and for related blogs.

Social media promotions and responses to opinions online

How is public relations different than advertising?

Simply put, advertising is paid media, public relations is earned media.

The entails creating an enticing pitch to the media that the story they run will be one their readers will educate and entertain their readers. It appears in the editorial section of the magazine, newspaper, TV station or website, rather than the “paid media” section where advertising messages appear.  Ultimately, this gives the story much more credibility because it was independently verified by a trusted third party, rather than purchased.