Public Relations… Say What?!

Quite often I get asked, “So what is Public Relations?”. And over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at explaining what exactly it means, or at least what all is involved.  Here is an overview to guide you through what is PR and what elements are involved…

Public Relations (PR) is about building and maintaining relationships between a business and the public, including current customers, potential customers, communities, and the general public.

“Public relations is the strategic management of relationships between an organization and its diverse publics, through the use of communication, to achieve mutual understanding, realize organizational goals and serve the public interest.”

— As defined by the Canadian Public Relations Society

PR Planning Process

To define strategic, actionable goals, and an implementation approach and plan, to guide communicators and others in designing, preparing and executing a public relations campaign.

  • Organization Analysis: Research phase, content questionnaire, business background
  • Public Relations Plan: Goals and objectives identified, target audiences determined; key messages identified; strategic results identified
  • Strategic Plan(s): Detailed strategies and tactics identified; ROI measurements
  • Implementation & ROI Program: Detailed project management plan for each strategy identified; includes tactics and program resources set to implement the strategy

A public relations plan is a “working document” that provides direction and recommendations on how to move forward with public relations,  marketing and communications. Each program includes “actionable items” with roles assigned, timeline for actions, resources required, and measurements to track.

What is the difference between PR and Marketing?

Marketing is more closely related with selling than public relations. Both have the ultimate goal to gain customers and business; however,  PR is more focused on the relationship aspect of the sale process. PR helps to maintain the relationships with current users and new customers, whereas marketing is primarily focused on gaining new business. Once marketing has instilled recognition of a company in the customer’s mind, it is PR’s job to foster these relationships and ensure they continue to grow in a positive manner.

PR = earned credibility / marketing = paid credibility
PR = engagement, relationships, trust / marketing = persuasion,  brand awareness, interest

* When a customer comes to a conclusion on their own, it is easier to believe and it makes more sense to them than the overdone methods of advertising and marketing.

Strategy vs. Tactic

While often used interchangeably, there is a distinctive difference between what a strategy is versus a tactic.  A strategy is what will set your organization apart and/or help your organization to reach a goal and objective; and for each strategy, there are tactics needed to accomplish that strategy.

Strategy = the art of creating a plan / Tactic =  how the plan is executed

Both are equally important because to take action and implement a tactic without knowing why wouldn’t be very helpful, and to create a strategy without acting upon it would be somewhat pointless.

Now you may be wondering how can your business get started in public relations. It’s simple.  Contact us at PR Savvy to book a free consultation to find out how your business can enhance its brand, build on its communications, and better connect with its customers.

UPDATE (Feb. 14/2016): Check out this recent article from by Robert Wynne – “Five Things Everyone Should Know About Public Relations“. It further describes what PR is all about and how it differs from marketing and advertising.

One thought on “Public Relations… Say What?!”

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