What is PR?

May 14, 2014

By: Lauren Fach

Many people don’t understand the difference between Advertising and Public Relations (PR). To an outsider looking in, there’s probably not a huge identifiable distinction. That’s because PR happens behind the scenes between the PR practitioner and its media contacts.

When a company wants to advertise, the ad is purchased and guaranteed a place whether it be a print ad, online banner or commercial on TV. The keyword associated with advertising is purchased. The ad was paid for and therefore the company can place an ad as often as the invoice gets paid. Advertising is an efficient way to generate customers’ attention to your brand, but it can become very expensive.


Gaining media attention with Public Relations does not require payment to media in exchange for coverage or placement. PR works because practitioners come up with creative, new ways to make their client interesting to the public and the media. In many cases, someone in PR may construct a schedule of media opportunities and ideas to pitch to TV producers, journalists and magazine editors throughout the year, keeping the client relevant, fresh and in constant communication with the media world.

AZGFD with Fox 10

PR helps analyze where the business is today and then sets goals to build, enhance or repair the company’s reputation with positive accounts of your client mentioned by the media, and therefore gaining the trust of the community.

The goal of both Advertising and PR are to promote the client, gain the public’s trust and to sound more exciting than the competition, among other items, but the means to reaching the goals differ greatly.

Advertising, because paid for by the client, can be held to judgement by the public, and we all know what can happen with one bad tweet. Advertising is not usually the best solution for a company in need of damage control. If your business is suffering from a negative public perception, it’s probably smart to give Public Relations a try.

Social Media and PR

If Public Relations goals are met, you might just have people tweeting about your client in a positive way. Social media can assist the goals of PR by staying in front of the media, engaging the community of customers and continuing the conversation initiated by PR. Facebook is a great place to test out new ideas that can be later pitched to the media. Twitter can be amazing for creating awareness of your brand, promoting trending hashtags and communicating with media outlets, journalists and TV producers.

Black Dog Promotions has had great success with combining social media with PR. Now a days, many news stories start as a tweet that was seen by someone in the media that found it interesting. News outlets want to report on interesting topics and if you are smart, you’ll make your client as interesting as possible, hoping to attract media attention. Social media and PR are not substitutes for each other, but used together can help build a successful PR campaign for your clients.

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