Publicity and PR are terms often used (incorrectly) interchangeably, much like PR and journalism.
Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines publicity as “an act or device designed to attract public interest; specifically : information with news value issued as a means of gaining public attention or support.”
Publicity is an aspect of PR; it is one of many communication tools. Publicity is getting unpaid attention from the media. It is sometimes referred to as “free media.” Most of the time, publicity entails short-term tactics to gain public awareness. Some examples of publicity include:
- News coverage
- Feature articles
- Talk show interviews
- Blog postings
One of my favorite musicians, Elizabeth Cook, was featured on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, which is one of my favorite shows, earlier this week. Interviews are a form of publicity.
Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines PR as “the business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution; also : the degree of understanding and goodwill achieved.”
Cuclis PR defines effective PR as “strengthens credibility, enhances image, develops goodwill and influences behavior.”
PR is the “mother term.” It is the general idea of the concept. While publicity applies short-term tactics, PR applies long-term tactics in an organizational plan. Some examples of PR include:
- Special events
- Annual reports
- News releases