Thursday, February 17, 2011

When PR Means PR

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.

1 comment:

  1. That's funny that people get those two things mistaken. I can understand why, I guess it's just hard for me to completely sympathize because I've worked with a particularly wonderful PR team for a while now, so I'm a bit biased! ;)

    I didn't understand the concept of PR for a long time. I just thought it was the team that would take over and create aggressive ad campaigns like with the whole Taco Bell non-meat fiasco. Or I just thought they were just the little birds to squawk our names into people's ears, but it's much more than that. They are liaisons, broadcasters, visibility focused, and a brand awareness team.

    I suppose a good PR team seems to go unnoticed because your brand should look like it's rising on its own without an awkward intervention. There's a lot that goes on behind the scene for a PR team that the rest of the organization might not even be aware of, but what they do is so vital to the organization's breath!