What is PR?

What do you think PR is and where does it fit into your Marketing Strategy as a SME?

Top voted answer
Lisa Creffield

Lisa Creffield, Founder at

PR is an important communication and promotional channel, that encompasses a wide range of activities and interactions with media, consumers, partners and other stakeholders.

Compared to general marketing and advertising it can be particularly effective for building trust and credentials. It can also offer visibility to market segments that are harder to reach through conventional advertising.

There is a danger in viewing PR under the "marketing umbrella" in that it can make an approach too commercial, which will fail with media and consumers. PR requires very different content and materials than advertising and marketing, as well as a different mindset.

Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

Great insight @Lisa Creffield ! I can't count how many times PR and Marketing have been referred to as one in the same (including in interviews for potential staff!). Have you expeienced this @Candice Meisels ?

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Erik Bigalk

Erik Bigalk, Founder and CEO at

Seemingly, most business owners know the answer to this questions, yet, more often than not, they actually don't. And, it is where they can make costly marketing decisions - purely on a lack of understanding.

So, here it goes:
PR or Public Relations (traditionally) is all about making your brand and business, service or product relatable to and prominent your target audience(s). And, while traditionally this was largely focused on editorial coverage in print publications without the high cost of advertising, earned on the merit of the angle or content provided - nowadays PR is far more than that.

With new media, social platforms, influencer marketing, brand activations, experiential and other brand positioning strategies - PR has become a far broader marketing 'must-do' than its traditonal form. And, with some of the biggest names in business saying that PR is far more valuable than advertising (Sir Richard Branson) and that they would spend their last dollar on PR (Bill Gates), it is not hard to figure out that PR in whatever form, should definitely be part of any business' marketing mix.

For some, it is easily handled themselves and there are lots of tools and support out there, and for others (or most) it is better to concentrate on doing what they are best at and let the professionals in PR do the hard yards of getting them featrured in media and to position their brand in the right light to their target audiences.

Hope this helps.

Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

Great answer @Erik Bigalk - interesting to see the difference between traditional and more modern PR strategies. Did you think that it is possible for business owners to handle PR successfully in-house (without prior experience)? What do you think @Candice Meisels ?

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Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

Great question! PR is all about effective communication between your business and your target audience. It's much more than just getting a few articles in the national newspaper, PR cover's all areas of increasing awareness through effective, and persuasive communication to the public

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Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

Thanks for tagging me to this @Hatty Bell I may have missed this question with that.

I think that the answers given by @Lisa Creffield and @Erik Bigalk get to the heart of what I would call a traditional answer that is still relevant and meaningful to many businesses.

However, my perspective on this is not as traditional. Department names often carry baggage with them. I’ve also experienced professionals from Marketing and PR that unfortunately don’t speak well of one another.

I believe a realignment corporately is necessary for this to ever really change, because only changing the name doesn’t fix the underlying problems and trust issues. That said, I believe several roles should fall under the group name of “Communications Strategy”. It is often necessary for PR, Marketing and Advertising to all work together. I think at direct consumer business (B2C) this is even more apparent. But, I also think that Customer Service (CS), Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX) are also part of the Communications Strategy team.

Marketing, PR and Advertising are typically a one-way communication channel. CS, CX and UX are typically either two-way communication channels or at least funneling the customers’ communication back into Marketing, PR and Advertising.

Unless a company is really trying to send waves through their industry newsletters and magazines or to position themselves for awards, I don’t think traditional PR plays as big a role as it previously did. This is especially true for remote all internet based ventures and retailers.

However, as the others have stated, when reaching out to media (publishers, tv, radio, etc.) sometimes they are put off by the sales-y marketing department style. They typically want the facts and then they determine their own angle based on those inputs.

Additionally, I think PR still needs to make an adjustment because often times by consumers they are only thought of as the “spin-team” that tries to walk back bad actions or events that have happened. I think a healthy dose of transparency, honesty, and authenticity would go much further (especially with the younger generations that are more immune to BS and ads because they are constantly bombarded with them).

I also tend to think of the marketing role as focused on the Product or Service reputations, and PR focused on the business reputation. This also gets muddied for a business that has one product and the product is essentially the whole business.

Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

Hi @Jef Lippiatt . Really interesting input here, and great to see another perspective on PR and marketing. It seems that PR and marketing are different for each company and each industry. I have worked in teams where PR, marketing, customer service and even web development are all lumped together, others where PR is running completely separately 

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Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

Would love to get your opinion/experiences @Lisa Creffield , @Tabitha Naylor , @Erik Bigalk , @Jef Lippiatt !

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