Is it advertising? Is it the same as general marketing? No, it’s PR.
1. So, what is PR?
Public Relations, more commonly known as PR essentially is the strategic communication of a brand, organisation or individual to the public. This can include cultivating a presence in the media, managing an existing presence, responding to public events and even sometimes damage control.
PR is also often tailored to what the client wants it to be, which can often vary a lot depending on the sector the brand specialises in and what audience they want to target. From fashion to sustainability or business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C), the PR strategy will be tailored accordingly.
Without getting too Freudian on you, there is also an elaborate theory of the importance of the psychology involved with managing the flow of information from the brand to the public, which plays an important role in the success of a business. But I will save this topic for another day.
2. Will the press release appear exactly the same as it’s written in the media?
This can really depend on the publication. We have certainly seen before that journalists have copied and pasted the release and published it as a digital article, so as a PR executive you have to make sure that everything in the release is accurate, factual and something that the client is happy to broadcast. However, and this is a big however, this is not the norm. A release is always written in a particular style which varies from that of an article. The purpose of this is that it acts as a source of information for the journalist about the brand, industry news, data reporting, and business updates. The exception to this is when a quote from an individual is included in the release, a journalist cannot edit this and if used it will be as a quote.
An additional factor to consider is how the journalist may choose to include and frame the information provided as part of a broader debate as well as alongside other brands. This can be a powerful thing to be included in a debate relevant to the brand and therefore help to build a reputable voice in the media. It is worth noting too that this is also the main difference between an advertorial because with the PR approach you cannot control what is published and the nature in which the journalist chooses to portray the information.
3. Do you have to pay media outlets in order to secure PR coverage?
The short answer is no, you don’t pay because that would be an advert.
However, to have a well-rounded PR strategy it’s worth considering paying for affiliate links with particular publications if it would benefit the brand - most ideal for consumer brands.
Additionally, organic PR is advantageous for increasing the client’s SEO if the article contains a link that would need to be a dofollow to impact the website’s SEO. This can be something that certain publications charge for but certainly not all. Some publications, mostly trade titles ask for support with advertorial opportunities which in turn can lead to more earned PR coverage.
PR coverage is a fabulous way for companies to directly attain a strong ROI from their marketing budget. For example one of our clients, through delivering a consistent PR strategy, has doubled its Domain Authority in under a year. Whilst another has recently made 368 sales generating £6,657 of revenue from one piece of media coverage in the first month alone.
For other clients, an influencer strategy may be more relevant and pivotal in driving sales and brand growth, which would entail additional costs whether it's gifting or payment.
4. Should I be using PR?
All brands should use PR and all the household names you can think of right now have invested in PR. It is a valuable strategy to build the presence of your brand, it delivers on the long game which is important to grasp. Especially in today’s society which is riddled with controversy, it's important to relay to your target audience where your brand stands on matters they care about.
For example, a menstrual health company sharing how its brand supports wom*n’s rights, or a sustainable home brand showing how it's committed to supporting a greener world and not simply greenwashing consumers. A fitness retailer proving it's committed to supporting a healthier world with realistic support and advice rather than only making money. All three examples have one thing in common, to an extent the client's success and maybe demise can depend on the public’s (or industry's) perception of them. It’s a powerful tool, which has to be honest and innovative.
5. Why do some journalists decline to cover a story?
A PR story is always strongest when it is newsworthy, relevant and fitting into the broader news agenda. Journalists can often decline to cover a story for a number of reasons, it could potentially not fit into their schedule of articles, the publication's theme for its upcoming issue, or simply not be relevant to what they are currently working on. Another factor to consider is that other stories could dominate the news agenda, such as prioritised topics like the Ukraine-Russian conflict or the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The editor could also opt to cut the story in favour of a different story, or the journalist could go with another source on the same topic.
Nevertheless, a good PR team (Lem-uhn) will be able to decipher a relevant angle, and the right contact at the right time and be successful in securing the coverage.