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What is Public Relations?

Some people still refer to public relations as for "free advertising." But PR covers a wide range of activities, from traditional activities like writing press releases to embracing evolving areas like social media.

Defining PR

Defining PR can be more difficult than defining other marketing disciplines. Direct marketing is fairly straight forward: using either phone, postal mail or email, companies directly contact their target audiences. People know what advertising is. The challenge is that at its most basic, PR is concerned with "relationships between organizations and their publics – people who are somehow mutually involved or interdependent with these organizations." (Effective Public Relations). This is even more important than ever in the age of social media.

Companies can use PR to:

  • Reach customers, investors, Venture Capital firms, and business partners;
  • Get a jump on competition;
  • Launch new products and services;
  • Establish new product categories and drive market demand;
  • Introduce – or re-position – themselves to the market;
  • Develop integrated, strategic executive visibility plans to enhances their corporate reputation;
  • Develop competitive positioning and translate key messages into compelling story angles that interest the media;
  • Leverage Web 2.0/social media to communicate and reach key audiences using podcasts and video podcasts (vodcasts), blogs, RSS feeds, and social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn;
  • Identify and develop winning submissions for important image-enhancing industry awards;
  • Announce VC financing that validates their products, services and business model;
  • Manage communications for M&A deals;
  • Leverage key milestones to generate coverage, enhance reputation and branding; and
  • Fulfill everyday communications that are never just routine.

For more on our perspective on the news as well as on business and the world in general, check out our blog, PRBackTalk and our TrendReport section, which includes our views on current media trends and how they may impact our clients.

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