Working in the field of public relations is sometimes frustrating due to a lack of understanding among the general population. The term “public relations” and “PR” is interpreted in the general society in a very vague and amorphous manner. So when I tell people I run a public relations agency, their faces cloud over and sometimes they even ask exactly what I do.
The term has taken on a relatively negative meaning in the general public, and public relations is viewed as some kind of attempt to deceive people or put out some form of propaganda. In the parlance of Donald Trump, “Wrong!”
Public relations simply means unpaid publicity, as opposed to advertising which is paid publicity. PR professionals work to generate positive news stories about their clients by drafting press releases, placing bylined articles in trade publications and business journals and more.
The publicity vehicles created by the online revolution transformed public relations. Because if we remember the core definition of PR, unpaid publicity, well, you do not have to pay any money to publish your blog or send out your email newsletter, for example. Google Adwords, on the other hand, or online banners cost money, and they properly belong in the field of advertising.
Public relations is estimated to be about 10 times more effective than advertising per column inch. Ask yourself what you pay more attention to, a large advertisement or a small interesting news story on the same page.
In the corporate and B2B world, the marketing department encompasses both advertising and public relations, and most experts suggest you should pay about the same amount of attention to each. In reality, most CEOs lean far more heavily on advertising, and they need to be educated about both the definition and the power of public relations.
Public relations professionals need to sound a clarion call against the general impression of their field.