Public relations, as defined by PRSA “is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

But what does that mean exactly? In short, PR = Branding. Public relations gets your story heard, generates brand awareness, and builds your credibility in the media and general public. However, in our experience working in the PR world, we’ve seen a lot of confusion centered around this field’s definition. Below are a few of the most common misconceptions we’ve run into:

  • PR is advertising – Advertising’s purpose is to sell products, and PR focuses on building the company’s reputation with earned media. PR professionals pitch stories; they don’t take out ad placements in magazines or on television.
  • PR is marketing – PR shares your story, and builds awareness and interest in your company; it does not deal in converting business. It is up to you or your marketing team to connect the PR/sales dots. Brand awareness is great, but if you aren’t taking advantage of that awareness and converting, you are missing out.
  • PR is writing press releases – Don’t get us wrong, we do write them, but there is so much more to public relations than drafting and blasting out press releases. A press release is a good tool for making an announcement, but it doesn’t guarantee media coverage. The media is flooded with press releases every day, and PR professionals use other formats and channels to make your story stand out and heard.
  • PR is spin – PR is NOT stretching the truth or creating a deceptive spin to a story. It is all about building up a company’s image, and that requires the trust of the media and public.