What really is Public Relations?

What is Public Relations? Many small business owners and entrepreneurs don’t know the difference between Public Relations (PR) and marketing. I have met with a number of small business owners who are disappointed to learn that PR is not what they expected it to be – though it is an essential part of success. Today we will focus on the basics of PR.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, once said, “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.”

In a nutshell, PR is the management of communication between an organization and its public. It is an art, a strategized science of building a relationship, reputation and bridge between the two. We utilize a variety of mediums to create a successful PR strategy – social media, news outlets, branding and integrated community relations campaigns. However, the number one, and most important, element needed is the public (PEOPLE). Let me spell that out – PUBLIC RELATIONS IS ABOUT CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE!


  • Advertising.
  • Flyers.
  • Direct sales.
  • Creating or designing new product or packaging.

The above is marketing. Wisegeek.com, describes public relations perfectly. “Public relations provide a service for the company by helping to give the public and the media a better understanding of how the company works … PR also helps the company to achieve its full potential. They provide feedback to the company from the public. This usually takes the form of research regarding what areas the public is most happy and unhappy with.

“People often have the perception of public relations as a group of people who spin everything. Spin can mean to turn around a bad situation to the company’s advantage. It is true that part of the purpose of public relations is to show the company in a positive light no matter what. There are certain PR experts that a company can turn to for this particular skill.”

Want to know what PR is? Meet the Mailman.

Publicists help a business, organization or professional enhance their reputation and/or brand. PR also assists in allowing the public to learn more about the company’s mission and/or services. It is common for PR professionals to create media opportunities (radio, print or TV interviews/coverage) by hosting events, participating in community-oriented activities and booking speaking engagements. PR is not just for external use. It is also used within a company to strengthen employee relations, relay information, and to build rapport and company loyalty.  PR and marketing work hand-in-hand. However, marketing is CREATING THE MESSAGE and public relations IS CONVEYING THE MESSAGE.

In essence, there is the letter writer and the letter receiver. PR is the mailman.

Click below for a few PR examples:

SURE Women Conference in Springfield inspires change and empowerment of women

Anytime Fitness brings 24-7 health experience

Westfield State University President supports Kidney Walk

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