If the public relations business deserves a lousy mark for anything, it’s for the fact that not many people know what they do. After all, everybody knows what a cowboy does, and everybody knows what a construction worker does, and if you combine those two with a guy wearing black, the chances are good he’s part of the Village People. Some occupations are easy to understand. This is not the case for public relations.

Public relations agencies don’t buy advertising to get their message across. And, they don’t browbeat journalists into writing stories for them. Instead, people who want their stories in popular media get help at violetpr.com. Ask anyone there how they do their work, and this is what they will tell you.

What is Public Relations?

Simply stated, public relations is the business of persuasion. PR people work in various forms to affect your opinion of something, whether it be a business, a product, a political candidate, and anything else. PR people do their jobs by telling stories. These stories are the narratives that advance clients’ goals. To do this, they use various tools, including press releases, speeches, special events, and others.

How Does PR Differ from Advertising?

PR isn’t paid for. Advertising is. Using public relations strategies, the PR practitioner also gains the leverage of using the implied third-party endorsement of the press to their advantage.

What is News?

To get good public relations, it’s essential to understand what news is. The media is not in the business of getting you publicity. They are in the news business. To get the media’s attention, you must either create a story or follow a story.

Does Social Media Replace Traditional Media?

In a word, no. There are a lot of people who believe that enough tweets and blog posts can replace a mention in the New York Times. This is not true. Social media can augment traditional PR messages, but they cannot replace it.

How Do You Measure the Benefits of Public Relations?

You measure them very carefully and by using methods that most people accustomed to reading spreadsheets and reports don’t often understand. The amount of press coverage a PR client gets can be measures with relative accuracy, but how people respond to that coverage is usually done with both surveys and results. After all, results and changed minds are what public relations is all about?

Some people will argue endlessly about the benefits of advertising vs. public relations. The trouble is that there are benefits to both, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. In the end, however, public relations comes out on top since everyone will better know what it is all about and what it can do. If that’s not good enough, you might want to opt-out and join the Village People. The public relations profession will always be there to promote you. Barring that, you better look good in black leather or an Indian headdress.