PR, or “public relations”, is a well-known and important part of your communication strategy. But what is it, really? In this article, we’ll do a deep dive into where it originated, how PR differs from marketing (in the broadest sense) and how the rise of social media has changed it forever.
From propaganda to professional communication
Although PR has existed in various forms since the dawn of civilization, it only took shape as a professional discipline in the 20th century. It started out somewhat dubiously as wartime propaganda: during the First and Second World War, PR was used to steer public opinion. After that, this budding branch of business underwent rapid professionalization, with the founding of dedicated PR firms, and took hold as a permanent part of corporate strategy.
The difference between PR and marketing
It might not be obvious at first glance exactly what the difference is between “public relations” and marketing in general. The one seems to be simply part of the other, right? The main distinction is in its goals. PR aims to build relationships with customers and/or the public, while marketing is geared towards selling products or services to them. This dissimilarity shows even in the way they’re employed. With marketing, you will frequently make use of paid advertisements or content marketing, while PR attempts to attract editorial attention from “the media”. Note that as a direct consequence of this, PR will always be dependent on editorial choices from journalists: it is ultimately out of your hands.
Social media’s impact on public relations
It is not hard to imagine how the PR trade has changed dramatically with the advent of social media—which, after all, made traditional media like newspapers and magazines largely redundant and follow very different rules. Organizations can now get into contact with their target audience directly. Information spreads at lightning speed, “going viral” is the most sought-after prize. That hasn’t made things any calmer or clearer. It puts a premium on skills like thinking on your feet and youthful energy. It also forces companies to become more transparent and authentic.
Where to find the perfect PR plan
You can of course choose to do all this work in-house, but it is probably more effective for your organization to hire a specialized PR bureau like Vuurwerk. We have all the necessary know-how and years of experience with PR on social media. Great online campaigns? A close eye kept on all the trends? Save valuable time and use our expertise in the field of strategic planning: contact us here for the perfect PR plan for yourorganization.