Publicity vs. Public Relations

Recently in the marketing world, the terms “publicity” and “public relations” are often thought of and discussed in the same breath. These terms are also often used interchangeably. However, they shouldn’t be. They are in fact quite different – a difference many people do not fully understand. KPS3 would like to shed some light on this mystery.

Publicity is simply just one arrow in the quiver that is public relations. Publicity is the effort to garner media coverage or exposure about a brand, product, event, etc. It’s focus is narrow. Public relations, on the other hand, is the higher level development of an over-arching strategy for furthering a marketing or communications goal of an organization. It is often associated with the term “reputation management.”

It is true that publicity is a tool that PR professionals can use, but it is only a single tool. If your PR firm is limited to just creating publicity, then you do not truly have a PR firm.

Other aspects of PR (beyond publicity) might include: community outreach, corporate social responsibility programming and sponsorships, government relations, grassroots communications and engagement efforts, “public” presentations and other tools used to position the organization as thought leaders, new media tactics, and many more.

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