What’s the difference between public relations and publicity? Think planes and roads
For many people there is little distinction between public relations and publicity and the terms can be easily interchanged. The fact is they are vastly differently fields that require their own unique skills developed over many years. The easiest way to draw the distinction is to think of roads and planes. When you want a road built you call a civil engineer. When you want a plane built you call an aeronautical engineer (or two). They might both be engineers but you wouldn’t get the civil guy to build a plane or the aeronautical girl to build a road. The same should go for your communications.
What is Public Relations?Public Relations has never been easily defined. For some it encompasses anything that involves talking to people that aren’t customers. For others it’s organising parties and inviting celebrities along. I have been using the same definition for many years*. PR is the strategic crafting of complex stories and interactions with a range of publics. It’s the focused examination of your interactions and tactics and products and pricing that, when combined, determine what and how people ‘talk’ about you. It addresses issues and it takes time and resources. Under this definition the process of public relations is complex, time-consuming and more often than not, expensive. It involves formative research, strategy development, tactical thought and ongoing evaluation and program re-setting. The goal of public relations is to complete this sentence with as much detail as possible.
In order to (insert objective) we will (define a strategy) by (list creative tactics that solve the problem)You could end up with something like:
“In order to drive preference with buyers during the consideration phase, we will activate the online voice of existing customers by creating a game that requires multiple reviews on Facebook and Yelp and that focuses on the reliability of the product.”A good public relations person is strategic, thoughtful and research-focused. They can stand back and look at the big picture and break it down into small actions that get you to your goal.