RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Misconceptions

Publicity Within PR

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
  • Letters-to-the-editor

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:

  • Speeches
  • Special events
  • Newsletters
  • Annual reports
  • News releases




Common Misconception in Public Relations

Before I became interested in public relations, I heard many ideas and perceptions on how different people defined PR.

One misconception about PR that I fell victim to myself is how it differed from journalism. I knew there was a difference between the two, but I could not tell you exactly what that difference was. In journalism, a key factor is being objective with your writing in order to allow the audience to develop their own opinion. PR practitioners still value presenting accurate information, but one of their goals is to persuade the audience to favor their client.  In terms of audience alone, journalism is designed for the masses, while PR is much more geared towards specific demographics.

Some people often mistake advertising and PR as being one in the same. They substitute the terms “advertising,” “publicity,” and “public relations” interchangeably. But, advertising has an equally different definition from PR as journalism does. The Corridor Business Journal provides a good explanation between the two. “Advertising is a paid placement with a controlled message. Those purchasing the advertising control virtually all aspects — the message, appearance, size and timing. Consumers know when they are reading an advertisement that they’re trying to be sold a product or service.”

This differs from PR because PR campaigns use persuasive communication often via a third party. The Corridor Business Journal also provides a great explanation of a campaign’s purpose:  “There is no obligation by the media to use information submitted via news releases or media kits. Because any resulting coverage is free, there is no control over the content, timing or placement.”

These misconceptions are simply a result of a lack of source of information. Whom can the average person ask to explain what the difference is? On the surface, these fields, while interrelated, seem interchangeable, so it is understandable that people are often confused about the purpose of each.

Related Sites: