Press Release vs. Public Relations – What’s the difference?
When a press release goes out, this is like sending up a big and colourful hot-air-balloon that has blinking neon lights informing random potential customers that a new store has opened. By day-three, our neon hot-air press release becomes a tiresome annoyance to those within viewing range, including the original potential customers. Press releases can really help announce an event, but they become old very fast.
Events that are advertised through a press release often fail in PR or Public Relations. Explosive little fluff pieces that announce a new store or service become outdated very quickly. When a press release is supplied to a general audience, no guarantees exist that individuals within this audience will share an interest area with the one found inside of the press release announcement.
How Public Relations differs.
While a press release is limited to telling the public a specific piece of information, good Public Relations invites the public to interact and explore the host company in a manner that allows a comfortable relationship to form. Example: A company based 'human-interest' article can allow all readers to think and explore the storyline, while still interacting with the host company by leaving comments about their thoughts on the article.
The idea behind a good Public Relations campaign is to use sociological factors related to interaction techniques to the benefit of the host company. For the most part, nobody likes to be told a fact without a way to respond. Instead, people react naturally to quiet advertising, such as a human-interest story, that allows for personal thoughts to be important and validated.
Company goals are normally all about public interactions; understanding how PR works is critical to a good advertising campaign. Simple press releases providing one piece of information to the general public will only result in random returns. When this traditional method of advertising fails, a good Public Relations campaign is needed to provide other avenues for the public to become comfortable using the host business.
It can be incredible value for money.
As a Public Relations manager plans a campaign, advertising pounds spent are extended over a longer period. Traditional press releases are short lived, while interesting article-style information is always there to entice new readers. Advertising budgets are further extended when potential customers are looking for information that the company is supplying.
This principle of making articles relevant and interesting holds true for the editors the publications as well. After all, you are looking to get those articles published and as interesting as your business is to you, an editor needs to consider their readers first. If they publish your piece is it just ‘free’ advertising for you, or will it actually benefit their audience.
So to ensure you achieve both a good chance of getting published as well as engaging with your potential audience it’s crucial to look at good PR as a tool. Don’t just quickly draft a press release and see if you can strong arm it into your local newspaper, just because you advertise regularly. Think how you like to read your newspapers and magazines, what gets you interested and what turns you off? Good quality journalism is key to this exercise so if you’re not a Wordsworth or a Shakespeare, look at getting in a professional.
Traditional press releases hold value, but an interactive PR plan is a better use of time and the advertising budget in today’s fast paced world.