Publicity and Public Relations

People often think public relations is focused exclusively on publicity. Publicity is part of what a good PR firm can do, but it’s only a small portion. Public relations involves managing a brand long-term so that when the opportunity for publicity arrives, the company has good brand equity that can be leveraged to gain positive attention.

Public relations first became important to business in the early 1900s, when major corporations identified the need to sway public opinion across national and international markets. While advertising and marketing had done that previously, public relations looked at the challenges a bit differently. Rather than simply telling people about a company’s goods and services (advertising), public relations focuses on getting the public to talk about the company. This could be done through media relations, but good PR tactics also include creating buzz, commissioning surveys, speaking engagements. The list of options goes on and on.

Public relations can also include crisis management. Many large organizations have crisis management plans, but many of those plans simply focus on the operational response to the issue. For example, if there’s a fire at a factory, the crisis plan focuses on how to get employees to safety, how to get the fire out quickly, etc. What’s often missing is the communications piece. What do you need to say to your different audiences about the crisis? How often should you communicate? What should your messages be? A good crisis management plan includes a communications plan as well.

Good public relations executives do much more than gain publicity for their clients. While publicity attracts attention, public relations as a whole manages that attention to garner the best results for the company. Your PR manager will use publicity—in the form of news releases, news conferences, and interviews—to share important information about your company so you can achieve your business objectives. But sometimes publicity isn’t what you need. Sometimes, you simply need to communicate better to a small audience. That can be done through other communications tools, such as speaking at conferences, experiential marketing, or well-orchestrated one-on-one meetings.

To learn more about how a good PR firm can help your company grow by using innovative and results-driven communications efforts, contact your local Tucker/Hall office.