Media relations and public relations are often terms used interchangeably. Contrary to popular belief, the two are not the same.
Media relations accomplishes one goal, and public relations accomplishes another.
Public relations is the act of connecting and communicating through all the various relationships that a business or organization may have formed with the public. These various public’s can include employees, customers, industry, government entities, investors, charities, suppliers and the media. For instance, if you’re a business and you want inform, influence even persuade a certain group of people- you have been caught in the act of public relations.
The Public Relations Society of America has their own definition, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their public’s.”
Public relations takes into consideration the bigger picture of how an organization relates and is perceived by the public at large. A good public relations strategy can not only help a company understand its customers and provide meaningful solutions, but track those results and often forecast outcomes for future circumstances. PR can affect community behavior – sometimes even more so than advertising.
Public relations professional often work with an organization’s senior management to deal directly with critical internal and external company events. Both traditional media and certainly now the Internet are utilized to communicate the appropriate message. The public relations professional’s toolbox includes the ability to research, write and speak.
Media relations can be described as a company’s interactions with editors, reporters and journalists. The media can be newspapers, radio, television and the internet. The goal is to communicate a client’s newsworthy message, story or information using the appropriate media outlets. A company may need only one person to work with the media or choose to hire a team depending on the amount of information that has to be controlled. This can be accomplished internally or an external agency can get the job done.
Media relation specialists usually connect with the media world on a daily basis. These professionals work to develop and design media plans that can become a blueprint for what the company hopes to accomplish at the local, national or international level. Business strategies are designed to manage and create positive perceptions of the company.
As an effective media relations specialist it is essential to work with and not against the media. Developing a strong relationship with journalists, bloggers and content writers who may be eager to hear what you have to say, can provide your client with invaluable access to the public.
While an invisible line is drawn between public relations and media relations, professionals in both fields have to be experts in mass communication to be successful. Trending information has to be anticipated and understood well in advance. And it has to be quickly accessed.
Everything has to be carried out in a way that places your company in a positive light. Individuals should possess at least a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications. Extensive knowledge of the Internet and social media are additional tools to own.
Although this is a brief look at the PR and Media Relations conversation, we would like you to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. How do you differ between Media Relations and PR?