At my Enterprise University classes recently, this question came up a few times. PR and marketing is a mystery for many business owners so I would like to provide a comparison of services.
Is there a difference? Yes but the goals of both disciplines are the same. A PR firm is involved with the strategic process of managing the public image of a stakeholder, and is therefore intimately involved in the marketing process, while a marketing firm is involved with the tactical aspects, such as advertising and promotions. At AMM Communications, we find ourselves working very closely with marketing and brand management companies because our services are complementary.
A marketing firm is more involved with the tactical process of presenting a product or service in a positive light. So the goals of public relations and marketing are similar in that both strategies seek to gain the trust of the general public on behalf of the stakeholder. PR strategy involves placements in traditional print media as well as TV, radio, and other broadcasts. In addition, social media is now a key part of the public relations process, because it helps with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) of a website. Never before in history has it been as easy to create and distribute content directly to the the general public. This can be both good and bad because there is a chance for an unhappy customer to actively vent to thousands of people with the click of a mouse. It is for this reason that public relations and marketing firms need to work collaboratively to manage the public image of a stakeholder, and to immediately address any dissatisfaction from the general public.
A small business owner can handle their own public relations and marketing, but it takes time and effort, which may be better spent on managing the business. PR professionals have relationships with reporters that are cultivated over many years and increase the chances that a story pitch will be picked up by a major publication or broadcast media outlet. It also takes time to learn the ins-and-outs of social media, and many business owners find it very daunting. So instead of subjecting yourself to hours of frustration and anguish, you can outsource your marketing to a marketing firm and for PR you can contact AMM Communications!