We tend to get questions about what exactly public relations is. There is often confusion between PR and advertising since the goal of both specialties is the same. However, the two are separate and very different.
What does a PR agency do?
The Public Relations Society of America defines the management of public relations as:
- “Anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, attitudes and issues that might impact, for good or ill, the operations and plans of the organization.
- Counseling management at all levels in the organization with regard to policy decisions, courses of action and communication, taking into account their public ramifications and the organization’s social or citizenship responsibilities.
- Researching, conducting and evaluating, on a continuing basis, programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding necessary to the success of an organization’s aims. These may include marketing; financial; fund raising; employee, community or government relations; and other programs.
- Planning and implementing the organization’s efforts to influence or change public policy. Setting objectives, planning, budgeting, recruiting and training staff, developing facilities — in short, managing the resources needed to perform all of the above.”
What doesn’t a PR agency do?
PR agencies and advertising agencies both work toward a common goal: to promote clients, share their great stories and make them seem as relevant as possible. PR agencies, however, work with reporters to promote clients through editorial coverage (or earned media) while advertisements are paid for by the client. If you’re in the market to hire one or the other, it’s important to know the difference.
According to a Nielsen study released in April, 92 percent of people surveyed around the world trust earned media – an increase of 18 percent since 2007.
So how do you know when you’re ready to hire a PR agency? First, ask yourself some important questions:
- Are you prepared to share your business goals? We want to be on the same page as you, working toward the same goals. We can’t help you if we don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Can you create some time in your schedule for us? Effective public relations has to be an ongoing effort, it cannot stop and start in stages. We will need to meet with your team for brainstorming sessions, weekly meetings, data mining, etc.
- Are you willing to move a bit out of your comfort zone? We will be throwing some outside-the-box ideas your way, but trust us. We know what it takes to make you stand out.
- Can you invest some time? PR doesn’t happen overnight. We realize that most businesses expect to generate traffic and buzz immediately, and sometimes that happens, but most often it’s a dance – and we’re right along with you.
And remember – when you hire a PR firm, you are building on your existing team. We’re all on your team, regardless if we work out of your office or ours.