I just wrapped up a small contract PR/marketing communications project and it happened again. One of the folks involved with the project confused the term “PR” with press release.
I’ve heard this more than once, from a range of clients and organizations cutting across a variety of departments (marketing, sales, communications) and industries (profit and non-profit).
It’s an understandable mix up. However, PR is short for “Public Relations” and refers to systematic, consistent efforts that support larger strategic goals.
A fully developed PR program goes well beyond the one-off press releases.
PR programs enhance awareness, support branding and foster engagement and connections with key audiences.
A comprehensive PR program encompasses media relations, industry relations, awards programs, speaking opportunities, and online communications.
A press release is important to any public relations effort, but is just one tool to secure media coverage.
It's been my experience that one press release here or there is an ineffective way to go. Instead, media outreach efforts must be fully integrated into a broader marketing and communications plan, timetable, and budget.
Media outreach should support specified communications objective for one or more target audiences.
Most of the success of a media campaign comes from media relations – the research and cultivation of strong relationships with carefully selected journalists, editors and bloggers that are relevant to the organization.
A press release has a better chance of being picked up by a media outlet if the blogger, reporter or editor has a basic familiarity with your organization. That research will also help determine whether the media outlet is the best fit – blindly emailing press releases to reporters who don’t in fact cover the topic is not the way to go.
So remember, PR stands for Public Relations! More about PR another time.