Why PR Is Not Just Media Relations

PR is not media relationsI recently had a conversation with a young lady, let’s call her PR Ingenue, who wanted to hear my PR Basic Principles because as she said, PR is so broad. We had an interesting discussion about the difference between public relations and media relations so I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts with you guys, and get some of your basic principles. Here’s the conversation:

Mopwater: A lot of people equate PR to media relations, but that’s just one part.

PR Ingenue: Could you explain the difference?

Mopwater: Media Relations refers to the act of working with members of the media to get media coverage. PR includes media relations but it also encompasses how you safeguard image perception of your brand, or what do people think about you. What is your reputation? PR people shape that. So if your client is Starbucks and their problem is that people think its too expensive PR people would figure out the messaging that would appeal to cost-conscious consumers or decide “hey we are expensive and that’s how we want to be perceived, and we want to appeal to people who want a more expensive product. Let’s just leave it like that”
PR people watch what people are saying about you in a crisis and tell you how to respond carefully to minimize damage to your reputation (think celebrities like Chris Brown and Mel Gibson or corporations like BP).
PR people advise you on the steps you need to take in order to be more visible and to get to the next level, so we find platforms for clients to showcase their skills because we’re in the business of positioning experts.
Mopwater: People so often say “get me on CNN” or “get me in the New York Times” without thinking it through…it’s like why? Why do you need to be on CNN? How does that fit into your strategy? How is that helping you meet your goal? It’s just an empty wish you think you should have because everyone says you should have it. UNLESS you think CNN is the key to showcase all the work you’ve done up to this point and you’re ready to move to the next place.
PR Ingenue: Okay so PR asks underlining questions you need to know the reasoning to help create strategy, right? Correct me if I’m wrong.
Mopwater: You need to know the goals to create strategy. Always ask what is your goal? What do you want more of? Customers? Attention? Website hits? Facebook fans? Marketshare? Money? Repeat customers/brand loyalty?
PR Ingenue Got it!
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What are your thoughts?

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