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PR & Marketing: What does it really mean anyway?

PR & Marketing. Marketing & PR. They cross over so much that the line gets very blurred and even we have trouble explaining! Next, you start throwing in traditional and digital forms and our communication-focused heads start to spin. We thought this would be a good place to try and break down each one while also connecting the two, because they are very much connected. PR is our main jam, so we’ll start there and go into how it falls under the marketing umbrella. We use the “umbrella” reference a lot because it’s SO true!

What is Public Relations (PR)

Public Relations or PR is storytelling, building awareness and shaping a brand’s image through different forms of communication. Basically, an overall method of strategizing the spread of information to the public through traditional & social media, partnerships, events and more.

Publicists connect with the ultimate gatekeepers, the media

They do so to target audiences across the globe and craft newsworthy story angles to convey messages in the best possible light. 

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Using Public Relations to Tell Your Story

Simply put, it’s communicating your message to an audience. It’s how you tell your story, where you tell it and to whom. Storytelling can be done in a variety of different ways and on multiple platforms, but using a strategy to determine which methods work for your target audience is key. Leveraging media channels such as TV, radio and print to promote and create a “word-of-mouth referral” is paramount – it cultivates a positive public image and gives instant brand recognition and credibility. It’s also the hardest to obtain – PR agencies use their relationships with the media to tell your story and secure coverage for free, known as “earned media.” There are also two additional forms of media, but we’ll get to that in a second.

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How PR Helps Businesses by Helping Journalists

To secure earned media, PR agencies help journalists by giving them the tools they need to create relevant stories that pertain to their readers, viewers and listeners. It’s their job to maintain a client’s exposure by creating new, different and interesting ways to tell their story. How do you want the public to see your brand or business? What are you doing to support your community? Are you an expert in your field? These are all questions a publicist will ask when creating a narrative that positions you as a leader to the media. 

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Earned Media > Paid Media

The power of PR is real. It is powerful because it’s earned communication, not paid. It is the most unbiased, honest depiction a brand will receive, making it the most credible type of coverage. That being said, businesses don’t have control over it, so being strategic and flexible is key.

What’s the Difference Between Earned & Paid Media?

Ok, let’s get back to those two forms of media I mentioned earlier: owned and paid.

  • Owned media is controlled internally and includes social media posts, blog content, website copy and email newsletters.
  • Paid media is any form of advertising, which includes social media ads, influencer “advertorials” and search engine marketing. In addition to media, other methods include speaking engagements, strategic partnerships, sponsorships, program development, events and more. 

What is Marketing

Now, why don’t we dive into marketing. PR is actually a form of marketing or a method if you will. Marketing is a big umbrella, encompassing many different strategies & tactics to promote and position your product or service including:

  • Public Relations
  • Advertising
  • Social Media
  • Branding
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Direct Marketing
  • Digital Marketing
  • Content Marketing

…oh my marketing! We know it’s a lot, but the marketing process understands your customer and gets them to PAY ATTENTION! Use the methods that are right for your business to strategize how to cut through the noise and communicate your brand’s identity and message.

Remember, establishing strategic media channels are key! TV, radio, newspapers and magazines to social media, email, direct mail and your business’s website. Use these platforms to market your business, connect with your audience to build brand awareness, drive website traffic, increase sales, grow social media followers, gain new customers, etc. 

It’s all about optimizing your brand’s ability to be positioned across multiple channels, conveying the same message in different ways. This allows you to streamline your message, while strategically gearing it towards each different audience. Your Instagram follower is way different than your direct mail customer.  The approach has to be dynamic, forward-thinking and well thought out.

Creating Your Business’s PR & Marketing Plan

Your PR & Marketing plan strategizes and determines which methods will work best to communicate your brand. This is why it’s important to have one in place! Like anything, it’s always better if you have a full understanding of what you are trying to achieve, establish your objectives and set your goals. This gives your clarity and allows for organization and free thinking. 

Whichever method or methods you choose, just remember: all brands are different and different forms of communication work for different brands and audiences. Understanding this will help you develop a foundation for your plan and help you with your first task, determining your target audience…after you have done that, all of the methods will strategically fall into place!

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