In order to get the most out of public relations it is important to understand what it is – and what it isn’t.
Over the last few years, the terms public relations, marketing and publicity have become interchangeable – to the detriment of all of them. Without clear definitions it is impossible to build an effective strategy that delivers measurable outcomes. It’s impossible to understand what worked – and what didn’t – and why.
Public relations is – and has always been – a process of building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with the people that are most important to achieving a specific commercial goal.
The number and sophistication of tools available to do this has changed – and will continue to change. The fundamental goal of public relations has not – and will not – change. (Read: Startup Communications: Disciplines and Tools Explained)
Marketing is about activating key relationships. It’s about compelling them to action.
Publicity is the process of communicating a message to as many people as possible. It’s one-way. There is no deliberate attempt to either build or maintain relationships or compel people to take a commercially valuable action.