PR is not advertising. In fact they are pretty much on opposite ends of the spectrum. Here’s the difference: An advertising message is a paid endorsement with a specific and controlled message. It’s harder to establish credibility with an advertisement because the public knows the advertiser has paid for the space. Public Relations efforts get editorial coverage when the media determines that the messages are newsworthy. The editorial earned with PR carries with it a degree of credibility and can be more persuasive than an ad. But, unlike an ad there are no guarantees on when, if and how your message will be conveyed to your audiences.
PR is not publicity. Publicity and public relations are not interchangeable terms. Publicity is only one phase of a total public relations effort. Publicity is the actual coverage you receive from a PR campaign – the news stories, interviews, etc. Publicity is the distribution of information to gain public awareness and it is just one tactic in the PR arsenal.
PR is not a quick fix. Public Relations is not something that just happens. And it really shouldn’t be part of a last minute effort when all else has failed. Contrary to what you might get from the nightly news, it’s not all about spin-doctors, celebrities or front-page headlines. PR is a valuable tool for creating awareness, establishing credibility, building relationships and even, in many cases, boosting sales. None of these things happens overnight. They take time and effort, well-directed effort, and a well thought out plan of action.
PR is ongoing. You can’t expect to do a “little PR” and get great results. One press release does not constitute a public relations program. The impact of public relations builds over time, with repetition of key messages in a variety of contexts.