When I heard that “PR” was a popular search term that drove traffic to our website, it got me thinking about public relations and what makes it so widely searched. Most people are probably searching to learn the differences between public relations and marketing. After all, public relations is just advertising, right? This is how I like to explain it to clients we work with: Advertising is intended to promote and sell products or services while public relations is used to build favorable relationships with key publics. It’s paid vs. unpaid, earned vs. unearned. However, integration of the two is key. Both are at their best when used together.

Cutlip and Center’s book Effective Public Relations defines public relations as “the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the public on whom its success or failure depends.” So how does one establish these relationships? Public relations involves more than sending out a press release. Effective public relations is strategic and utilizes a set of activities (usually earned) that build an honest and transparent conversation between a company and its communities. This generally happens through traditional media like newspaper and broadcast, but more often via social media.

Primarily, public relations strategies must integrate with marketing plans. We utilize the PRSA four-step process — RPIE (Research, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation) — which lifts the public relations function from tactical to strategic. What I like most about the RPIE process is that it transforms public relations measurement from output-based to outcomes-focused. I want my clients to understand the planned outcomes of this process, not just the tactics. When we transform this view from output to outcomes, we can form better public relations strategies and keep a better pulse on effective measurements of success.

Many of our public relations efforts the past few years have been focused on announcing our clients’ news, launching products, unveiling partnerships and demonstrating corporate social responsibility. These are key areas where exposure and validation are generating awareness among their communities. Successful efforts position our clients as industry leaders, tell their story and leverage that story to build their brands.

We’d love to help you tell your story. Send me an email at KathyB@envoyinc.com, tweet me @katbron or give me a call 402-558-0637 ext. 107.