PR is perhaps the most misunderstood form of marketing. Traditional PR or media relations focuses on landing media coverage, garnering articles or segments in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and online publications. Unlike ads or commercial, you don’t pay for the stories to run, and unlike digital marketing or social media, you can’t simply write something and then post it. Media relations is not paid media, but is generally referred to as earned media.  

PR takes a story-based approach, as opposed to being sales-based. The objective is to present a compelling story to journalists, producers and editors which meet their needs, while simultaneously garnering coverage for you or your business. To effectively place stories in the media, you don’t sell, you inform and, if possible, entertain. Effective PR does not mean fluff and hype. It means presenting the media with strong stories that educate, enlighten and inform.

Unlike other forms of marketing, PR-based stories go through the same scrutiny as other articles or segments in the news – the media vets them; editors and segment producers assign and review stories before running them. This gives stories in the media the credibility and validation and of being the news. That empowers them with a trust value that a commercial or print ad neither can nor will deliver. Just about anyone with the budget can buy an ad or a commercial. The copy and phrasing is the company’s. That’s fine, but appearing in an ad is very different than being showcased in a news story. The credibility factor of being featured in the news is immense.

Whereas some online magazines and news sites work in the same way that traditional media works, what is often called online PR is generally digital marketing and closer to advertising than it is to traditional public relations. This type of marketing does not offer the third-party validation of being featured in the news. There is no vetting process with an editor or producer checking facts or reviewing the article or segment. What is referred to as online PR usually means blogging, posting information on social media sites, online ad campaigns and email marketing campaigns. Those are all legitimate forms of marketing, but they should not be confused with media relations or traditional PR.

While it’s important to understand the difference between traditional PR and other forms of marketing, it is often not simply and either-or decision. Often, the most powerful approach can be to meld online marketing with traditional PR. This approach encompasses the validation of media relations with the magnification of digital marketing. That combination can offer you a marketing paradigm that is much greater than the sum of its parts.

Traditional PR vs. Digital Marketing | Copyright © Mora Communications Inc.  2017