By: Rebeka Dickerson
Public relations is often confused by the general public with many other industries, but specifically marketing and advertising. The three are so similar that they are even commonly integrated these days. And then there is journalism which is frequently mentioned in the PR world as well. So, to help provide a better understanding of these four important communication mediums, I am providing some information below about what makes each unique.
Public relations is all about awareness and reputation. Awareness and reputation can in turn help a company sell products or become successful. PR deals with the long game; keeping customers coming back and obtaining new loyal customers.
An example of PR is the #IceBucketChallenge. The 2014 viral campaign raised awareness for ALS by inspiring people to post videos of themselves being drenched by a bucket of ice water and/or donating for ALS research. Many celebrities participated and over $115 million dollars was raised for the ALS Association.
Marketing is a technique for stimulating a demand for a specific product or service. The main goals are to make a product or service widely known and to increase sales. The transaction of something in the moment matters more than what will happen with the company in two or three years. Professionals in this industry often refer to product, price, place, and promotion as the four Ps of marketing needed to sell goods or services.
An example of marketing is Spotify and how it is is marketed differently than other music applications. Spotify assists users in finding music they have never heard before. Users can click any category of music and explore a multitude of artists. Spotify also sorts music options by music someone may want to workout to, sleep to, or even play video games to.
Advertising is a paid message. It is a part of marketing (promotion). It can also be part of a public relations campaign. An advertisement could be a television commercial, but it could also be a print ad, digital ad, radio ad, billboard, and so on.
Examples of companies that are known to continuously use ads to their advantage are Geico, Ford, and Nike.
While public relations has a target audience, journalism does (or should) not. Journalism’s purpose is to simply inform the general public in an objective way. A PR professional’s job is to advocate for a specific company or individual, while a journalist is traditionally meant to remain unbiased.
Examples of Journalism can vary. The many types include broadcast, investigative, opinion, entertainment, political, and sports.
A Couple Examples of Integration
As part of its brand awareness strategy, Coca-Cola has combined PR and journalism by utilizing storytelling on its website (https://www.coca-colacompany.com/). This is also known as brand journalism. Stories on the website detail how the company supports the community, how they promote diversity and inclusion, and how they help the environment.
The brand Always has an ongoing PR campaign #LikeAGirl, which encourages people to change the meaning of the phrase and how society views girls and women. A popular Super Bowl advertisement was created to promote the campaign in 2015 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_Ep0O5fWN4).
So although similar, all four of these industries definitely have their own place. They each have their own distinct objectives. Yet they all work with the public in mind, and any of them can be combined strategically to create even greater success.
by Jonathan Haile
If you have ever plunged into a program such as Cision, you understand there are thousands of media outlets covering hundreds of topics. That said, you might have a hard time believing that the number of journalists working today is at its lowest since 1978, says Pew Research. With the number of journalists and media contacts on the decline, PR professionals need to maximize their media relations efforts.
Mickie Kennedy of eReleases speaks to the impact of declining number of journalists on PR pros, so I offer a few suggestions in response to his PR Daily article.
1. Don’t forget about bloggers
While the number of journalists is declining, bloggers are enjoying their days as online influencers. As they build their audiences, build your relationships with them. Building these relationships can be as simple as sharing their content on social media sites, a suggestion from digital marketing analyst Brian Solis, or as involved as meeting up for coffee to discuss what topics they would be most interested in covering and how and when they would prefer to receive the pitches you want them to cover.
In the event that the blogger shares your story, be sure to acknowledge them on social media with a mention. For instance, “Check out what ‘xyz blogger’ had to say about our new product. Thanks for the shout out!”
2. Make sure your website has a “News” section
By this, I mean publish your own content. When you need to release information, post it on the news section or blog section on your website, and share that page on the social media platforms you utilize. Most large organizations have press sections on their sites, but if you’re working for a small company or with a small client as their representative and public relations council, you should recommend the client adds the feature to their site if they haven’t already done so.
3. Simply ask to whom you should send your pitch
In my Strategic Planning course, like all my peers, I was taught to pitch to one person at each media outlet. In my most recent internship, I was told to pitch to more than one contact at an outlet. Certainly, there are different schools of thought. Maybe the answer is calling the news desk and asking for suggestions about the best person to receive pitches for articles. Once you have that name, you’re set. Of course, if there are other contacts at the outlet who you know will be interested in your story, send it to them as well.
4. Leverage your relationships
You might be pitching to a journalist who hasn’t been receptive to your attempts in the past, but you know that a coworker has had success reaching that journalist, and they might be successful again in the future. Have the coworker pitch your story. They already have the rapport and it’s possible they can introduce you to the journalist, helping you build that relationship for yourself.
If you look around, you’ll find plenty of ways to deal with the declining number of journalists, but I hope I have provided you with four tools you can use in the meantime. Being a PR professional at a time when the number of journalists is decline is a challenge, but as with any challenge, there are exciting opportunities and different methods for getting your story or news to the masses.