What is PR? Then and Now Infographic – From storylinePR
Did you know that the first press release was published in 1906? Or that P.T. Barnum invented outdoor advertising with big eye-catching posters? So whenever you see a billboard, think circus! I found this fun infographic in a great PR post from storylinePR. Check it out here: The Past, Present and Future of PR. You can see the infographic below.
What is PR Today?
That post and infographic got me thinking: What is PR? How are businesses defining and utilizing public relations concepts and tools today, vs. 20, 30 or even 100 years ago? Can small businesses obtain great results with their efforts, even with a small budget?
Times have definitely changed. Today business owners are scrambling to get a handle on their own public relations with the use of a wide range of content marketing strategies designed to enhance their brand and visibility, get more “likes” on their social media platforms, generate leads and engage their current and future customers.
If you are involved in marketing and PR for your company, the tools at your disposal are vast. You can publish a press release with embedded links back to your site, publish your own video, tweet your blog post links, post cool content and engage in conversations on your Facebook page, offer free downloads from your website in exchange for the visitor’s email and contact information so you can share more of your company content with them over time… just to touch the tip of the iceberg.
Isn’t that PR? I offer this definition of PR from Wikipedia:
Public relations (PR) is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc.
An older definition included social science and trends analysis. Analyzing trends and continuing to listen to your market is and always will be important, especially if you want to be smart and strategic in your marketing and PR efforts. But do those activities no longer belong to public relations? It used to be that you would have to perform expensive and time consuming marketing research. But today, with the use of social media and the data published daily on the internet you can gather an enormous amount of information that you can use to support your company’s overall marketing strategy.
Heidi Cohen, one of the marketing experts I follow, pulled together a very nice summary of what PR means to 31 professionals. Her excellent blog post popped right up when I searched for the phrase “What is PR?” And that is no small feat, considering nearly 25,000,000 people search for that key phrase in a given month. Way to go, Heidi!
In her summary, she shared that her analysis of the meaning of PR turned up 10 mentions of the word “marketing,” 8 mentions of the word “media” (not social), 7 mentions of the word “relationship,” 7 mentions of the word “communications,” 6 mentions of the term “social media,” 4 mentions of the word “reputation,” and three mentions each of “crisis management,” “community” and “engagement.”
Heidi also shared this fun definition of terms:
“If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying ‘Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday’, that’s advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.” – Shared by Davina K. Brewer who attributed it to Reader’s Digest.
Dear Klout: please do not add “circus” to the list of topics in which I have influence. Thank you!
Anyway, all that is to say that it appears the jury is out, the dust hasn’t settled (choose your own cliche) on what is and is not PR, and whether it’s all shifting over to content marketing, etc. etc. I’m not making any proclamations. Just sharing!
What is PR in your corner of the universe? If you have any thoughts about it, please dish in the comments below. Thank you! You are a gentleperson and a scholar.
Without further ado, here’s the cool infographic, originally from PRWeb: