In the business world, public relations and media relations are often used interchangeably as they appear to be confusingly similar. But these are different business processes. Public relations is the act of maintaining, fostering and improving relations between others and your business. On the other hand, media relations is a part of public relations limited to the company’s interaction with journalists, bloggers, editors, reporters and others in the media business.
Having public relations and media relations divisions, or at least a representative for each one, is essential for every business. In order to maintain the distinction between the two, we will consider the importance of public relations and media relations separately.
Every company needs a public relations department, or they must at least outsource this work to a PR consultant or agency. It is an essential part of maintaining and enhancing the organization and brand’s image in the public eye, and sending a message to general public, customers and investors that you care. This kind of positive approach will help improve trust and that adds directly to your bottom line. So what are the key PR tasks you need to focus on, and how are they important for you?
Image Strategy in Public
The public relation strategists will cooperate with the high level executives of an organization to design the outline of how it’s going to craft a positive image and how the company wants to be perceived. This focusses on the right message and then decides on the outline of a campaign to circulate the message.
Public relation executives frequently arrange events to increase a company’s profile. They lend their name and brand to an event that highlights the philosophy, brand and products or services of the organization. For instance, think of a hospital organizing a health day outreach, or a corporation’s special Olympics event sponsorship.
Interacting with the media is the main function of your relations department. They can arrange interviews with important individuals in the company, field questions from reporters, and write press releases to make the media aware of company announcements and achievements.
Role of Social Media
Social Media plays a major role in building an organization’s image. Managing a Facebook page, Twitter page, LinkedIn page, you tube channel, etc. are necessary methods to connect with possible stakeholders or new customers. Early warning of any emerging problems or trends on the internet about the company also helps PR professionals monitor and respond to public comments.
When a disastrous event ruins a company’s public image, such as when a food company faces a contamination event or an oil company has to deal with a high profile spill, public relations will decide how the company will communicate to deal with the problem, how the company will rectify the damage to its image and regain control of its message.
Media relations is a vital part of public relations. Many organizations misinterpret the differences between marketing, direct advertising and media relations.The ultimate aim is to get free media coverage without spending money directly through advertising.
Media Relations Functions
Pitching and placing stories is the traditional role of media relations. Building relationships is the most critical part of media relations. The idea is to fulfill reporters’ information requests as a company spokesperson and become a trusted resource for reporters.
Execution of Media Relations
Read and digest all new and traditional media coverage of your company. Include local media, online outlets and bloggers as RSS feed is important for online publishing. Research the outlets that cover and that you want to cover your organization. Find out what kind of stories they like to run and after proper research, filter appropriate stories for specific outlets. Use internet resources to track stories, writers and issues through online tracking services like Google Alert, Facebook, Lexus-Nexus, Dow Jones, Topsy, Addict-O-Matic and more.
Understand journalists’ needs, know what they write about and know to respect their deadlines but never waste their time. Write individual pitches to target specific bloggers or reporters. Communicate with management by compiling and distributing weekly and daily ‘e-clipping reports’. Develop Media Relations plans that support organizational objectives and talk about publicity opportunities. Ideally, a good balance between public relations and media relations is a good strategy to achieve a company’s goals.