Marketing vs. PR

HEADLINE: Dog Bites Man.
HEADLINE: Man Bites Dog.
*OK, you’ve got my attention. Keep talking.*
HEADLINE: Quick-thinking Restaurant Owner Saves Man From Choking To Death During Contest
SUBHED: Performed Heimlich Maneuver on Man Who Bit (Hot)Dog
*Well, that’s just crazy! I should like to know more about this fellow and perhaps visit his restaurant where I know I won’t choke to death because obviously he and his staff are well-trained in life-saving techniques! Also, I enjoy hotdogs a great deal!*
What you have just witnessed is a jacked-up version of an old journalism adage about newsworthiness in reporting. Reporters have to find an angle, an aspect of an event or subject that is unique and/or compelling, something to hook the reader and take them on a ride that was worth their time. What does that have to do with marketing, you ask? Believe it or not, getting some press is still considered a valuable avenue for delivering your message to a mass audience. But you don’t get publicity just for being in business; you must have something newsworthy to talk about, offer something unique in order to pique the public’s interest. 
Good, old-fashioned public relations is one aspect of a marketing strategy, but don’t make the mistake of considering PR and marketing as interchangeable terms. While both are vital to achieving the goal of successfully delivering a brand story, their functions do serve different purposes: marketing is about controlling the message; public relations is about leveraging relationships with the media and exploiting the avenues that will benefit you the most. Marketing is action; PR is often reactive. Marketing builds a brand; PR builds bridges. Sometimes the lines between the two seem to blur, but they are distinctly specific practices.
To put it simply:

·         Marketing = Paid publicity or “paid media,” whether it be a website or a billboard.

·         Public Relations = Free publicity or “earned media” such as print or television news coverage or social media mentions

Public relations professionals will have fostered relationships with folks in various media outlets to whom they can pitch story ideas. It is their job to discern what is inherently newsworthy about a business – or create ways to make it newsworthy – and then to manage the flow of information between the business and public (existing and potential customers) via traditional and non-traditional media channels. It is also the role of the PR pro to monitor mass and social media for the issues and hot topics people are talking about in order to find an angle that gives a journalist, blogger or social media influencer a reason to tell their readers or viewers or followers a business’s story.  
Effective public relations efforts not only increase the visibility of a business by exposing it to a larger audience, the means by which this is accomplished – editorial communication – also lends a certain amount of credibility to your brand. Advertising and marketing are fantastic means of tooting your horn, but coverage by the media provides a sort of third-party validation that is invaluable simply because it can’t be bought
A marketing firm that has cultivated the right relationships and has a proven track-record of getting press for their clients is a firm that will deliver results in terms of exposure and return on your marketing budget. As a component of your overall marketing strategy, public relations is a powerful tool for reaching your target market and is essential for success. 
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