“PR; that’s ‘public relations’ of course”. Well, yes, some of the time. It also means ‘press relations’ and is a very important tool in the commercial marketer’s kit bag. A more accurate description these days should be MR: ‘media relations’ as with the digital boom over the last fifteen years or so, ignore this at your peril. Public, press and media relations for organisations are all in the remit of marketing; public relations for individuals is a very different discipline altogether and as such, has no place here.
Given that our definition of marketing is ‘the dissemination of information to a pre-selected audience in order to generate opinion’, as you’d already know if you’ve read this column before, then you’ll see the ‘leaking’ of information to the press regarding some Machiavellian political strategy by one adviser or another, particularly in such turbulent political times, can be seen only as ‘press relations’. But for us mere mortals in the commercial world, these press relations are incredibly important.
Look, we’ve all got to eat: you, me and the press too. On the face of it, the difference between advertising and PR is that advertising is paid for. So, you pay for your advertisement, the media runs it, and you hope your presentation is appealing enough for your audience to buy from you. Simple. On the other hand, you prepare your press release, assuming the media regards it as newsworthy, they run it and, again, you hope your presentation is appealing enough for your audience. So, they chorus, why don’t we do just PR? As I said, the media has to eat too. Every medium on the planet is aimed at a particular demographic be it a newspaper, e-newsletter, magazine, radio or television station. Social media platforms profile their users and those demographics are sold to advertisers, and irrespective of which media you look at, their owners have gone to a great deal of trouble – and expense – to deliver a particular demographic. Without wishing to state the glaringly obvious, if you have found a medium that reaches the very demographic you need (i.e. your potential customer base), then that is what you will gravitate to and will therefore in your interest to ensure that said medium continues to reach said demographic. Lines: read between them. OK, don’t; I’ll be blunt. If your PR effort in a particular medium is bringing in the right results, then run some ads to support that medium. I mean it.
Several months ago, this paper was good enough to run a feature on Big Red Moose. The reason, I suspect, is how we framed ourselves, otherwise doing a feature on ‘a marketing company’ could hardly be regarded as newsworthy. That it was framed thus should be no surprise; after all we are ‘a marketing company’ and that’s what we do. So when you are embarking on your PR campaign, find the right media, support them and present yourself in a newsworthy manner. If you can’t do all that, enlist the help of someone who can.