A full plate of data-driven PR capabilities.

With our proven methodologies and data-driven strategies, we’ve represented clients in the food and beverage space from fast-casual to fine dining, burgers and fries to vegan cuisine. No matter your consumer, we know how to reach them. 

With a dedicated team of public relations professionals, strategists, and data analysts are specialized in all things food, we can create and syndicate the perfect message to reach your audience. And did we mention our international influencer network we leverage regularly to grow brands?

Our approach.

Standing-out from the crowd through PR

Making news in the food and beverage sector is not only challenging, but also a task that often fails to differentiate itself from others. We know that to score the desired results, a unique perspective needs to be presented and that is where we invest ourselves. We take your unique story and craft the perfect creative content around it to make you win against the masses.

Our proven blueprints are in-depth and detailed roadmaps on how to proceed with different type of products, audiences, and mediums. Combine that with the bespoke messaging plan tailored to you, and you get PR that beats the competition and puts the limelight on your brand.

How we work.

We leverage on our relationships with influencers and journalists

When you have been in the PR game as long as we have been, you make long-term relationships that produce wonderful results. We are full-service public relations and marketing agency and we actively work with thousands of influencers and journalists that rely on us for stories that matter. Once we have you onboard, we work closely with your team to craft messaging that will make headlines and then we push the content out to handpicked influencers and journalists to multiply the exposure.

Our creative team works hard to maintain a uniform approach towards your story and personalize it according to each audience, making your story look like their story and the story that people will listen to. We create a bond between you and your audience that drives sales and multiplies the impressions you make with your brand.

What makes us different?

We control everything.

We take every factor into account and work on making the best out of everything with extensive research and expert PR management. 

We amplify your story.

We know how your journey has been awesome and we make sure that we shout out everything there is to tell so that you are everywhere you need to be.

We use all mediums.

Our fully integrated marketing team works together to use any and all mediums of communicating with your audience, be it videos, pictures or just good copy.

We understand growth.

We work on proven blueprints that we have tested and perfected over the years, that are designed to scale anytime to any level.

Our Expertise

Our formula.

  1. Increase brand reach

    Through mass media PR, social media content, and virtual launch events, we share compelling stories, images, and videos that combine your brand with cognitive refreshment.

  2. Create a culture of awareness

    Food and beverage marketing is just as much about consumer awareness as consumer loyalty. We'll use a strategic combination of traditional media placement with influencer and viral marketing to increase your brand's voice to new circles. 

  3. Nurture and grow consumer loyalty

    The consumer journey is a long and precarious one. But with the right timing and the right messaging, you can make sure that each lead not only becomes a customer, but a member of a loyal and dedicated base. 


The amount mobile searches for soft drinks has increased in the past two years.

Let’s talk about your project

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Next steps

  1. We’ll ask key questions

    We are hyper-efficient at synthesizing your core needs.

  2. We’ll draft a proposal

    We can harness the expertise of our local + global team.

  3. We’ll present the plan

    We will show you how to turn ideas into scalable action.

TOP Agency

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What we do


We create psychological triggers, make content ideas more sticky, and activate key emotions that cause people to take action. We embed our story ideas and campaign content with “social currency,” so that someone can share it to seem better, smarter, kinder, or “in the know.”

Service Categories

Communications Services

Corporate Social Responsibility

We believe corporate citizenship is about more than just making a donation or signing a pledge. It's about making a real contribution to your community and the world at large, but doing so in a way that also advances strategic, branding, and marketing goals.

Crisis Communications

Whether an individual or a business, a public crisis can have a huge impact on sales, authority and more. Let us help mitigate the fall-out and turn around the stories.

Employee Engagement

We transform an intrinsic attitude and daily employee and stakeholder interactions into an incubator for innovation, growth and consistent performance to advance your organization.

Media Relations

Let us take on the task of liaising with our media contacts to tell stories through earned media which promote various angles of your business or yourself.

Public Affairs

We work with closely with policy makers to influence the current public discourse and next iteration of laws and legislation.

Public Relations

Our proprietary Blueprint system lets us quantify success based on what worked before and what will work again, guaranteed. We don’t have to guess at success—we know exactly which type of story generates which level of engagement with which type of journalist.

Reputation Management

We will analyze the current reputation of a company or individual and come up with strategic ways in which to influence this either online or through the media.

Thought Leadership

Become a trusted source by media and fellow business leaders through a Thought Leadership program which seeks to solidify the role of expert within a specific area of interest, either business or personal.

From pitching media to tracking results, we stay on top of your presence in the media from start to finish. Whether it’s fielding queries or brainstorming creative trend stories, we’re your eyes, ears and voice when it comes to dealing with the media.

We will work with you to help develop and maximize social networking tools to allow you to interact more freely with fans in a modern and effective way. By effectively utilizing media channels, as well as monitoring and reaching out to high profile blogs, we are able to communicate your news to a very broad and informed audience quickly, thus keeping you current with the influential trendsetters in your area. We will also work with you to develop other marketing initiatives to help grow your business.

Whether small or large scale, &co. pr will work with your team to handle any and all of the logistics involved with your event. From the marketing side to the project management side, our team will ensure your event is a success.

Social media is the fastest and easiest way to gauge trends, interest in your industry and your brand, and ensure you are staying relevant. Each day, people all around are talking about your brand – and &co. pr is there to participate directly in those conversations and help control your message. We work with your team to help leverage your existing social media channels (or develop new ones) and create relevant, exciting and rich text & multimedia content that will keep your audience engaged and excited – and keep the conversations flowing,

what is food and beverage pr?

Food and beverage PR involves a ton of moving parts, from event planning and execution to media outreach and social media management. The food and beverage industry is as varied as the people in it, ranging from simple quick eats to elaborate gourmet meals. An intimate bar is going to have much different needs than a sprawling winery, and an experienced food and beverage PR professional will be versatile enough to work within that range.

Any PR firm worth their salt has a number of established media contacts, and those that specialize in culinary industries are no different. While the businesses themselves may vary — from restaurants to wineries to celebrity chefs to food festivals — the common thread is in knowing which outlets are the best fit for a particular client and using them to that client’s best advantage. In the right hands, your events could be featured throughout the state, or your wines could be showcased in a national magazine. The goal is always to make your brand appealing, trustworthy, and desirable.

One of the most common tactics for public relations firms is pitching stories and press releases to media outlets so you can get wide and varied coverage. In addition, help with event planning and promotion is a major draw, taking some of the pressure off you and allowing someone else to manage public knowledge and perception. Social media and business networking complete the puzzle, finding you outlets to reach both current customers and potential new ones. A friendly, humanized brand voice can go a long way toward building trust and helping people spread the word about your business.

All in all, a PR agency specializing in food and beverage services can help you make the right connections, communicate well, and advance your brand to levels you hadn’t thought possible. It’s one slice of the success pie, you might say, and an extra tasty one at that. It involves parties, after all.



Our Services: 

By taking a proactive, results driven approach and working quickly and creatively to meet and exceed the demands of an evolving market, we help our clients stay connected to editors, influencers, and their audiences in direct, meaningful, and authentic ways. 

Hover and click any of the services below to learn more about each of our core competencies. 

What we do


We bring brands to life through creative solutions that are both effective and innovative – setting visual, verbal and experiential standards that drive entire experiences.

Service Categories

Creative Services

Content Marketing

Our team of designers, copywriters and video producers will work together with our marketing experts to produce stackable content to be used across a variety of platforms.


Copywriting is about more than putting words on a page — it's about communicating with customers and potential customers in an emotionally engaging way that helps define the voice of the brand.

Event Marketing

Make the most of any event, big or small, by creating a marketing campaign which maximizes the ROI.

Graphic Design

We help art, data and your business converge to serve up experiences that champion your brand and compel audiences to act.

UI UX Design

Our user experiences reflect your business while being tailored to pull and push your audience so interactions form relationships and drive action.

Video Production

From social channels to broadcast television, we are your strategic partners, artistic team, and co-creators from pre-production through distribution.

Web Design

Good design cultivates relationships and enhances reputation. We help your website compel your audience to learn more, linger longer, take action and share.

TOP Agency


We asked PR and growth experts in the food & beverage industry: What are Top PR Trends in Food Right Now? What are great examples of branding in the industry? Which exhibitions, platforms, food & beverage networks are trending? How to create a buzz for a food brand right now? Here are their answers:

Alison Seibert, Founder + Principal at The James Collective, a boutique integrated communications agency in NYC and the SF Bay Area that specializes in CPG food, beverage, travel and wellness.

“The food industry is in an incredibly exciting moment, probably one of the most pivotal moments that I’ve seen in my career. I think the biggest trend that we’re seeing is how so much of what is happening in the world both directly affects food, and the food industry likewise acts as a microcosm of what is happening more broadly in the world. Consumers are expressing a serious interest in understanding where their food comes from and how their purchases both affect the planet (both through issues like climate change and labor) as well as how their purchases reflect on themselves. Likewise, there’s a natural collision of food and beverage with wellness, and ultimately, consumers are seeking experiences over things — thus looking at food and beverage from the lense of experiences.

This directly affects us as public relations professionals and marketers. Transparency, credibility and authentic storytelling is key, as is reaching people where they live in an integrated manner. No longer is a great placement in a top publication enough. We need to strategically create opportunities for these products to be covered through media, have a solid social media presence for the right audiences, create experiences that emotionally and physically communicate the brand’s value in our lives, while always understanding that distribution and availability of food and beverage products are also key to sales and business growth.”

Jessica Butera, PR Supervisor at The Food Group, a full service marketing agency specializing in food and beverage.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of the food & beverage industry. Innovation is booming with today’s biggest trends — functional ingredients, CBD, adaptogens, plant-based, on-the-go, clean-label, sustainability — influencing how we eat & drink. With new, on-trend products being introduced every day, PR is a great way to build buzz and demonstrate what sets your product apart. However, traditional tactics no longer cut it. Here are a few ways we’re driving awareness for our clients…

1) Experiential: The best way to generate excitement about food & beverages is by allowing people to experience them — how does it taste? does it smell enticing? is it instagrammable? is it craveable? Experiential opportunities like pop-up shops, events, and immersion trips where people can sample the food and beverage is not a new concept, but it’s one that has staying power, especially in such a saturated market..

2) Partnerships: Partnering up like-minded brands or influential tastemakers can be a great way to amplify awareness around your brand.

3) Content: Content, including recipes, influencer tips, photography, videos, etc. is still an essential way to drive awareness around your brand.”

PRontheGO: Top PR Trends in the Food Industry

Rachel Kay, Founder + President at RKPR, a boutique PR agency that has specialized in national food & beverage brands for 13+ years:

“A fiery political climate is fueling a heightened interest by food and beverage brands to communicate elevated cause-related or sustainability programs. Previously, tying back to heated political topics was avoided by brands (and PR reps); but now, the benefit of being a champion for change overrides the risk of alienating some consumers. It also makes for great storytelling as consumers want products that reflect shared values. Brands realize it’s no longer enough to be recyclable or to donate samples to a foodbank. To breakthrough, there needs to be a specific effort, opinion and measurable outcome. Programs reflecting things like regenerative agriculture to female empowerment to body positivity help build a deeper brand narrative.”

Candace MacDonald, Founder and Managing Director at Carbonate, a creative strategy and brand communications agency operating in the food & hospitality space:

“We co-produce an annual trend report every year with af&co., a food, hospitality and lifestyle PR & marketing firm based in San Francisco, which has become an industry standard for food & beverage trends. (2020 report here)

The big overarching trend this year is an increase in the importance of authentic sustainability messaging. Companies have been making the shift towards more sustainable operations, but especially for food companies, all of this is easier said than done. So companies are having to find ways to accurately be able to say what they are doing while still having a PR hook. We are seeing that lasting strategic partnerships are key to amplifying that message across a much wider field and also create brand synergy. Partnerships with brands that live in the sustainable space allow food companies to communicate values, create news angles, build trust in a brand, and reach new audiences.

Examples we love:

• KFC partnered with Beyond Meats for a custom plant-based fried chicken, which was test-launched with great success (in the South!) with new green (instead of red, and a symbol of sustainability) buckets with the slogan, “It’s still finger lickin’ good.”

- The partnership lends sustainability credentials to KFC

- The new branding supports the sustainability ethos while remaining true to the KFC brand

• Sweetgreen partnered with David Chang to launch the Tingly Sweet Potato and Kelp Bowl, touting the environmental benefits of Kelp harvesting

- The news hook is not just about the environment (and economic advantages) but the trust in a celebrity figure like David Chang to promote it

• We work with Chowbotics, a food tech company focused on making fresh healthy food available anytime, anywhere — and they partnered with a southern salad restaurant chain to put a Salad Station robots in hospitals throughout the south, offering fresh healthy salads 24/7 to hospital staff and visitors.”

Michael Vaughan, Account Coordinator at HeraldPR, a full service Public Relations + Digital Marketing agency:

“QReal, a Glimpse Group subsidiary, is creating lifelike 3D and AR content for social media campaigns, web content, and e-commerce purposes. Their augmented reality (AR) platform is also expanding into the restaurant and food services space thanks to their unique partnerships. According to founder Alper Guler, there are “many opportunities” ahead for AR to be utilised in FMCG and grocery.

Qreal’s high-end experiences and 3D assets enable food makers to present products in 3D and provide visualisation of dishes using advanced scanning technologies.

The Glimpse Subsidiary has attracted the attention of big brands and over the summer it worked with the likes of Grubhub, Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, Domino’s and Magnolia Bakery to develop AR campaigns. They’ve worked with partners to create augmented reality Snapchat ads and activations.”

Pizza chain Dominos worked with Qreal for an AR social media campaign.

Diane Welland, M.S., R.D., Nutrition Communications Manager at Kellen, a leading global provider of management and strategic communications services to trade associations, with deep expertise and extensive relationships in the food and nutrition industry:

“Right now, the biggest food and beverage trends are plant-based products, from nut butters to meat replacements, which has gone mainstream to restaurants, fast food and grocery stores everywhere. Beverages are getting really exciting, and right now, the biggest trend are dairy alternatives such as oat based, nut and seed based and fruit based. CBD infused drinks, candy and ice cream are also picking up steam as is interest in functional ingredients. In terms of diets, Keto is still king and is expected to remain a top diet trend for 2020. We’re seeing brands taking products to the next level and stretching flavor profiles, such as Frito Lay’s Cheetos Popcorn or Churro-inspired Oreos. A great way to create buzz around your brand is to know who your audience is and connect with them in an honest way in the places they care about. Storytelling with shareable content that people can connect with can help elevate your brand in big ways.

You can read more about top food and beverage trends in our 2019 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo Recap.”

Sarah Walters, Director of Public Relations at RMD Advertising — The Integrated Advertising Agency for Food and Only Food

“In food, the top PR trend is also one of the most tried-and-true strategies: targeting consumers where they live, and where they shop. Working with food brands, it’s critical to support a PR program that focuses on national media, trade media and regional targeting. This allows the brand to be positioned to consumers at precisely the right time — just before they shop, and ongoing to stay top of mind. Perhaps just as importantly, this PR strategy also demonstrates to important retail partners and customers that the brand is investing in the relationship — a key competitive differentiator — and helping to drive feet into the aisles.

Some of our favorite examples of branding of recent in the food category can be found in the Keto Snack and Pork Rind categories. Brands such as ParmCrisps came out of the gate strong with a powerful integration of key strategies, including powerful package design, to clearly communicate with precision that they were there to solve a very real snack dilemma. They also effectively communicated they were bringing the taste leader to the snack food aisles to do so. Pork Rinds, on the other hand have been transformed as a category over the past 3+ years. The results of Southern Recipe Small Batch’s efforts, specifically, have catapulted the core consumers from a 65+ year old males to millennial women. Transformations such as those do not and cannot happen overnight, or by chance. Integration of all efforts, including product innovation, is required for such a transformation.

Today in the food category, Natural Products Expo West is the go-to expo for food brands and product launches. There are others, for sure, but this is the gold standard.

Currently, creating a buzz for a food brand requires innovation, time, creativity and carefully orchestrated and timed execution of marketing strategies. The best “buzz” seems almost spontaneous — but few really are… Strategic planning and flawless execution are mandatory.”

Thank you!


PRontheGO.com — The Creative Entrepreneur’s source for PR hacks.





More from PRontheGO


The Creative Entrepreneur’s source for PR hacks. www.PRontheGO.com

Feb 7, 2020

Top PR Trends in Travel Right Now



PRontheGO: Top PR Trends in Travel Right Now

We asked PR and marketing experts in the travel industry: What are the Top PR Trends in Travel Right Now? What are great examples of branding in travel + hospitality? Which exhibitions, platforms, travel networks are trending? How to create a buzz for a travel brand right now? Here are their answers:

Brookes May, Co-Founder at Funbully, a modern, lifestyle PR agency:

“We work with lifestyle and travel brands all the time. Here are some trends we’ve noticed lately:

1) Writers are looking for experience-based travel ideas. It’s no longer enough to list fabulous “amenities,” you need to be talking about what there is to DO: yoga retreats, ski trips, bar crawls, local food tours, etc. …

Read more · 4 min read





Feb 6, 2020

3 Top PR Trends in Fashion Right Now



PRontheGO: 3 Top PR Trends in Fashion Right Now

We asked PR and marketing experts in the fashion industry: What are Top PR Trends in Fashion Right Now? What are great examples of fashion branding? Which exhibitions, platforms, fashion networks are trending? How to create a buzz for a fashion brand right now? Here are the current top 3 PR trends:

1) Digital PR

Olivia Royce, Digital PR Manager at NOVOS, an agency of eCommerce specialists focused on acquiring new customers through SEO, content marketing & Digital PR:

“The Fashion PR market is moving away from the traditional PR set up. No longer getting a product placed in a magazine (no matter how well it is styled) will guarantee a sell out piece! We’ve seen a real move in to working with brands on expanding their digital footprint, and through that essentially using brand messaging to spread the word. We are not contacting journalists as much to feature a product, but rather creating meaningful campaigns — a story to be shared… This would include a press release on an interesting ‘hook’, plus some product placement and then working with influencers to spread the message on social.” …

Read more · 5 min read





Jan 29, 2020

7 Resources That’ll Improve Your Public Relations



PRontheGO: 7 Resources That’ll Improve Your Public Relations

We asked PR & growth experts to provide Resources That’ll Improve Your Public Relations. Which resources do you use to develop and implement PR strategies? Which tools are out there to improve the performance of PR campaigns? Which resources give entrepreneurs a better understanding of PR? Here are their answers:

1) Find the right contact

“In PR it’s all about who you know — or more importantly, who you can reach. Today, with massive turnover of media staff and the push towards online communications through DMs and social media, people may find it actually harder to reach key gatekeepers (media, editors, event planners, podcast hosts, etc) who can put them and their message front and centre. Hunter.io is an online ‘email hunting tool’ that allows you to search up anyone’s email as long as you have their company URL. This has come in handy say, when searching for a specific Huffington Post editor whose contact info wasn’t displayed online, but by using the email search in Hunter.io — we were able to figure out his direct email and craft a personalized message that didn’t land in a general inbox. …

Read more · 4 min read





Jan 16, 2020

PR experts provide their best tips for yoga studios



PRontheGO: PR experts provide their best tips for yoga studios

We asked PR and marketing experts to provide their best PR tips to yoga /pilates studio owners. How to differentiate in the product and branding, how to stand out? Which (local) platforms shall studio owners use to promote their classes? How can they grow their brand and clientele? Here are their answers:

Ashley Steinmetz is the founder of Perfect Wave Marketing, a boutique marketing and public relations firm catering to wellness, travel and leisure businesses and individuals around the world since 2010. She’s been working with yoga teachers, studios, and yoga retreat companies for several years:

“No two yoga studios are exactly alike even if their services seem similar and their businesses are on the same block. Have a well known yoga teacher leading classes at your studio? Do you offer hot tea at the end of class? Do you sell beautiful malas or yoga wear? Do you offer full moon classes? Are you partnered with a cause close to your heart? …

Read more · 5 min read





Jan 13, 2020

The best Valentine’s Day campaign ideas for your business

We asked PR and Marketing experts to provide their best ideas and success stories on Valentine’s Day campaigns. Why should founders leverage national holidays such as Valentine’s Day? What are creative publicity and social media campaign ideas? With which Valentine’s Day campaigns have you been successful in the past? Here are their insights:



The best Valentine’s Day campaign ideas for your business

Meg Prejzner, Founder & Consultant at Hackett Brand Consulting, brings proven marketing strategies to life for businesses, drawing from more than 10 years of experience working with Fortune 50 enterprises, international organizations and national franchise brands:

“National holidays give audiences a specific hook, or date, that’s easy to remember. But, it’s important to capture attention in a unique, out-of-the-box way. When I led PR & Social Media as Brand Manager with Qdoba, we launched the Qdoba for a Kiss campaign for Valentine’s Day. The idea — customers who share a kiss with a loved one, friend, or even their own hand get a buy one, get one free burrito. Using this tongue-in-cheek campaign, we were featured on The Today ShowUSA TodayHuffington PostEntrepreneurBustleMoney.com and more where a simple 50-percent off deal may not have cut it.” …

Public relations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to navigationJump to search

For the rock band, see Public Relations (band). For the journal, see Public Relations Journal. For other uses, see PR (disambiguation).

"Public information" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Public sector information.

The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the English-speaking world and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article, discuss the issue on the talk page, or create a new article, as appropriate. (June 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)


Media conferences are one approach used in public relations.

Public relations (PR) is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organization) and the public in order to affect the public perception. Public relations (PR) and publicity differ in that PR is controlled internally, whereas publicity is not controlled and contributed by external parties.[1] Public relations may include an organization or individual gaining exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment.[2] This differentiates it from advertising as a form of marketing communications. Public relations aims to create or obtain coverage for clients for free, also known as 'earned media', rather than paying for marketing or advertising. But in the early 21st century, advertising is also a part of broader PR activities.[3]

An example of good public relations would be generating an article featuring a client, rather than paying for the client to be advertised next to the article.[4] The aim of public relations is to inform the public, prospective customers, investors, partners, employees, and other stakeholders, and ultimately persuade them to maintain a positive or favorable view about the organization, its leadership, products, or political decisions. Public relations professionals typically work for PR and marketing firms, businesses and companiesgovernment, and public officials as public information officers and nongovernmental organizations, and nonprofit organizations. Jobs central to public relations include account coordinator, account executive, account supervisor, and media relations manager.[5]

Public relations specialists establish and maintain relationships with an organization's target audience, the media, relevant trade media, and other opinion leaders. Common responsibilities include designing communications campaigns, writing press releases and other content for news, working with the press, arranging interviews for company spokespeople, writing speeches for company leaders, acting as an organisation's spokesperson, preparing clients for press conferences, media interviews and speeches, writing website and social media content, managing company reputation (crisis management), managing internal communications, and marketing activities like brand awareness and event management.[6] Success in the field of public relations requires a deep understanding of the interests and concerns of each of the company's many stakeholders. The public relations professional must know how to effectively address those concerns using the most powerful tool of the public relations trade, which is publicity.[7]



Ivy Lee, the man who turned around the Rockefeller name and image, and his friend, Edward Louis Bernays, established the first definition of public relations in the early 20th century as follows: "a management function, which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures and interests of an organization... followed by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance."[8] However, when Lee was later asked about his role in a hearing with the United Transit Commission, he said "I have never been able to find a satisfactory phrase to describe what I do."[9] In 1948, historian Eric Goldman noted that the definition of public relations in Webster's would be "disputed by both practitioners and critics in the field."[9]

According to Bernays, the public relations counsel is the agent working with both modern media of communications and group formations of society in order to provide ideas to the public's consciousness. Furthermore, he is also concerned with ideologies and courses of actions as well as material goods and services and public utilities and industrial associations and large trade groups for which it secures popular support.[10]

In August 1978, the World Assembly of Public Relations Associations defined the field as

"the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organizational leaders and implementing planned programs of action, which will serve both the organization and the public interest."[11]

Public Relations Society of America, a professional trade association,[12] defined public relations in 1982 as:

"Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other."[13]

In 2011 and 2012, the PRSA solicited crowd supplied definitions for the term and allowed the public to vote on one of three finalists. The winning definition stated that:

"Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics."[14]

Public relations can also be defined as the practice of managing communication between an organization and its publics.[15]


Main article: History of public relations

Public relations is not a phenomenon of the 20th century, but rather has historical roots. Most textbooks consider the establishment of the Publicity Bureau in 1900 to be the founding of the public relations profession. Academics have found early forms of public influence and communications management in ancient civilizations. such as Aristotle’s rhetoric which explains the core foundations of persuasion. It is believed that there is an evolutionary aspect to PR, and that it only has improved over time.[16] Evidence shows that it continued to evolve during the settling of the New World and during the movement to abolish slavery in England. Basil Clark is considered the founder of public relations in the United Kingdom for his establishment of Editorial Services in 1924.[citation needed]

The concept of propaganda, which later evolved into Public Relations was used by the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and others to rally for domestic support and demonize enemies during the World Wars. World War I was the first war which affected not only military but whole populations and is considered to be "modern propaganda's launching pad."[17] This led to more sophisticated commercial publicity efforts as public relations talent entered the private sector. Most historians believe modern day public relations was first established in the US by Ivy Lee or Edward Bernays, then spread internationally. Many American companies with PR departments spread the practice to Europe when they created European subsidiaries as a result of the Marshall plan.[citation needed]

In the second half of the 1900s, public relations entered an era of professional development. Trade associations, PR news magazines, international PR agencies, and academic principles for the profession were established. In the early 2000s, press release services began offering social media press releases. The Cluetrain Manifesto, which predicted the effect of social media in 1999, was controversial in its time, but by 2006, the effect of social media and new internet technologies became broadly accepted.[18]

Career prospects[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

Cosmopolitan reported that the average annual salary for a "public relations director" was £77,619 in 2017.[19] One notable former PR practitioner was former Prime Minister David Cameron.[20]

United States[edit]


Public relations practitioners typically have a bachelor's degree in journalism, communications, public relations, marketing, or English.[21] Many senior practitioners have advanced degrees; a 2015 survey found that forty-percent of chief communications officers at Fortune 500 companies had master's degrees.[22]

In 2013, a survey of the 21,000 members of the Public Relations Society of America found that 18-percent held the Accreditation in Public Relations.[23]


In 2019, a PR Week survey found a median annual compensation of $95,000 for public relations practitioners, with sector medians ranging from $85,000 in the non-profit sector, $96,000 in a private agency setting, and $126,000 in a for-profit corporation.[24] The Bureau of Labor Statistics, meanwhile, reports the median annual for "public relations specialists" at $68,000 in 2017 and $114,000 for "public relations managers".[25]

According to a study made by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020, they found that public relations practitioners in the United States private sector – working at PR agencies - have a median salary of $57,940.[26] Individuals that work within the federal sector have reported to be making a median income of $65,310. The information collected shows those that work for professional, labor, political, and similar organizations average $66,340 a year.

The c-level position of chief communications officer (CCO), used in some private companies, usually earned more than $220,000 annually as of 2013.[27] CCOs at Fortune 200 companies, meanwhile, had an average compensation package of just over $1 million annually, according to a 2009 survey by Fortune; this amount included base salary, bonus, and stock options.[28]

Within the U.S. federal government, public affairs workers[a] had a 2016 average salary of approximately $101,922, with the U.S. Forest Service employing the most such professionals.[30] Of federal government agencies employing more than one public affairs worker, those at the Federal Aviation Administration earned the most, on average, at approximately $150,130.[30] The highest-earning public affairs worker within the U.S. government, meanwhile, earned $229,333.[30]

Salaries of public relations specialists in local government vary widely. The chief communications officer of the Utah Transit Authority earned $258,165 in total compensation in 2014 while an early-career public information officer for the city of Conway, South Carolina had a pay range beginning at approximately $59,000 per year in 2017.[31][32]


Indeed reported that the average annual salary for a "public relations manager" was $59,326 in June, 2019.[33] According to Stats Canada, there has been no growth in the demand for journalists in Canada, but the demand for PR practitioners continues to grow.[34] Most journalists transition into public relations smoothly and bring a much-needed skill-set to the profession.

Public relations practitioners typically have a bachelor's degree in communications, public relations, journalism, or English.[21] Some senior practitioners have advanced degrees. The industry has seen an influx of journalists because newsrooms are in decline and the salaries tend to be higher.[35]


Public relations professionals present the face of an organization or individual, usually to articulate its objectives and official views on issues of relevance, primarily to the media. Public relations contributes to the way an organization is perceived by influencing the media and maintaining relationships with stakeholders. According to Dr. Jacquie L’Etang from Queen Margaret University, public relations professionals can be viewed as "discourse workers specializing in communication and the presentation of argument and employing rhetorical strategies to achieve managerial aims."[36]

Specific public relations disciplines include:

  • Financial public relations – communicating financial results and business strategy

  • Consumer/lifestyle public relations – gaining publicity for a particular product or service

  • Crisis communication – responding in a crisis

  • Internal communications – communicating within the company itself

  • Government relations – engaging government departments to influence public policy

  • Media relations – a public relations function that involves building and maintaining close relationships with the news media so that they can sell and promote a business.

  • Social Media/Community Marketing - in today's climate, public relations professionals leverage social media marketing to distribute messages about their clients to desired target markets

  • In-house public relations – a public relations professional hired to manage press and publicity campaigns for the company that hired them.

  • 'Black Hat PR' - manipulating public profiles under the guise of neutral commentators or voices, or engaging to actively damage or undermine the reputations of rival or targeted individuals or organizations.

Building and managing relationships with those who influence an organization or individual's audiences has a central role in doing public relations.[37][38] After a public relations practitioner has been working in the field, they accumulate a list of relationships that become an asset, especially for those in media relations.

Within each discipline, typical activities include publicity events, speaking opportunities, press releasesnewslettersblogssocial media, press kits, and outbound communication to members of the press. Video and audio news releases (VNRs and ANRs) are often produced and distributed to TV outlets in hopes they will be used as regular program content.

Audience targeting[edit]

A fundamental technique used in public relations is to identify the target audience and to tailor messages that are relevant to each audience.[39] Sometimes the interests of differing audiences and stakeholders common to a public relations effort necessitate the creation of several distinct but complementary messages. These messages however should be relevant to each other, thus creating a consistency to the overall message and theme. Audience targeting tactics are important for public relations practitioners because they face all kinds of problems: low visibility, lack of public understanding, opposition from critics, and insufficient support from funding sources.[40]

On the other hand, stakeholder theory identifies people who have a stake in a given institution or issue.[41] All audiences are stakeholders (or presumptive stakeholders), but not all stakeholders are audiences. For example, if a charity commissions a public relations agency to create an advertising campaign to raise money to find a cure for a disease, the charity and the people with the disease are stakeholders, but the audience is anyone who is likely to donate money. Public relations experts possess deep skills in media relations, market positioning, and branding. They are powerful agents that help clients deliver clear, unambiguous information to a target audience that matters to them.[42]

The public in public relations[edit]

The public is any group whose members have a common interest or common values in a particular subject, such as political party. Those members would then be considered stakeholders, which are people who have a stake or an interest in an organization or issue that potentially involves the organization or group they're interested in. The Publics in Public Relations are:

  • Traditional Publics: Groups with which the individual has an ongoing and long-term relationship with, this may include; Employees, Media, Governments, Investors, and Customers[43]

  • Non-Traditional Publics: Groups that are typically unfamiliar with the organization and the individual has not had a relationship with but may become traditional publics due to changes in the organization, in society or if a group changing event occurs.[43]

  • Latent Publics: A group whose values have come into contact with the values of the organization but whose members haven't yet realized it; the members of that public are not yet aware of the relationship.[43]

  • Aware Publics: A group of members who are aware of the existence of a commonality of values or interests with your organization, but have not organized or attempted to respond to that commonality.

  • Intervening Publics: Any public that helps an individual send a message to another public, could be the media or someone with stature.[43]

  • Primary Publics: If a public can directly affect an organization's pursuit of its values-driven goals. This publics would include media, employees, government, shareholder, financial institutions, and the immediate community.[43]

  • Secondary Publics: Have high interest in the company such as the primary publics but will not be directly affected by decisions of the organization.[43]

  • Internal Publics: People within an organization[43]

  • External Publics: People outside of an organization[43]

  • Domestic Publics: Those within the country[43]

  • International Publics: Those outside of the country and when communicating with this publics individuals must be wary of that areas culture, beliefs, values, ethic, and other valuable cultural difference as to not offend anyone.[43]

Early literature authored by James Grunig (1978) suggested that publics develop in stages determined by their levels of problem recognition, constraint recognition and involvement in addressing the issue. The theory posited that publics develop in the following stages:

  • Non-Publics: Share no issue with an organisation.

  • Latent Publics: Face an issue but do not recognize it.

  • Apathetic Publics: Face an issue but do not care to address it.

  • Aware Publics: Face an issue but are unorganised to mobilise against it.

  • Active Publics: Face an issue and are organised to respond to it. [44]


Messaging is the process of creating a consistent story around: a product, person, company, or service. Messaging aims to avoid having readers receive contradictory or confusing information that will instill doubt in their purchasing choices, or other decisions that affect the company. Brands aim to have the same problem statement, industry viewpoint, or brand perception shared across sources and media.

Social media marketing[edit]

Main article: Digital marketing

Digital marketing is the use of Internet tools and technologies such as search engines, Web 2.0 social bookmarking, new media relations, blogging, and social media marketing. Interactive PR allows companies and organizations to disseminate information without relying solely on mainstream publications and communicate directly with the public, customers and prospects.

PR practitioners have always relied on the media such as TV, radio, and magazines, to promote their ideas and messages tailored specifically to a target audience. Social media marketing is not only a new way to achieve that goal, it is also a continuation of a strategy that existed for decades. Lister et al. said that "Digital media can be seen as a continuation and extension of a principal or technique that was already in place".[45]

Social media platforms enable users to connect with audiences to build brands, increase sales, and drive website traffic. This involves publishing content on social media profiles, engaging with followers, analyzing results, and running social media advertisements. The goal is to produce content that users will share with their social network to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach. Some of the major social media platforms are currently Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat.[46]

As digital technology has evolved, the methods to measure effective online public relations effectiveness have improved. The Public Relations Society of America, which has been developing PR strategies since 1947, identified 5 steps to measure online public relations effectiveness.

  1. Engagement: Measure the number of people who engaged with an item (social shares, likes and comments).

  2. Impressions: Measure the number of people who may have viewed an item.

  3. Items: Measure any content (blog posts, articles, etc.) that originally appeared as digital media.

  4. Mentions: Measure how many online items mention the brand, organization, or product.

  5. Reach: Measure how far the PR campaign managed to penetrate overall and in terms of a particular audience.[47]

Types of public relations arenas[edit]

Publicists can work in a host of different types of business verticals such as entertainment, technology, music, travel, television, food, consumer electronics and more. Many publicists build their career in a specific business space to leverage relationships and contacts. There are different kinds of press strategies for such as B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer). Business to business publicity highlights service providers who provide services and products to other businesses. Business to Consumer publicizes products and services for regular consumers, such as toys, travel, food, entertainment, personal electronics and music.

Other techniques[edit]

Litigation public relations is the management of the communication process during the course of any legal dispute or adjudicatory processing so as to affect the outcome or its effect on the client's overall reputation (Haggerty, 2003).


Public relations professionals both serve the public's interest and private interests of businesses, associations, non-profit organizations, and governments. This dual obligation gave rise to heated debates among scholars of the discipline and practitioners over its fundamental values. This conflict represents the main ethical predicament of public relations.[48] In 2000, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) responded to the controversy by acknowledging in its new code of ethics "advocacy" – for the first time – as a core value of the discipline.[48]

The field of public relations is generally highly un-regulated, but many professionals voluntarily adhere to the code of conduct of one or more professional bodies to avoid exposure for ethical violations.[49] The Chartered Institute of Public Relations, the Public Relations Society of America, and The Institute of Public Relations are a few organizations that publish an ethical code. Still, Edelman's 2003 semi-annual trust survey found that only 20 percent of survey respondents from the public believed paid communicators within a company were credible.[50] Individuals in public relations are growing increasingly concerned with their company's marketing practices, questioning whether they agree with the company's social responsibility. They seek more influence over marketing and more of a counseling and policy-making role. On the other hand, individuals in marketing are increasingly interested in incorporating publicity as a tool within the realm marketing.[51]

According to Scott Cutlip, the social justification for public relations is the right for an organization to have a fair hearing of their point of view in the public forum, but to obtain such a hearing for their ideas requires a skilled advocate.[52]

Marketing and communications strategist, Ira Gostin, believes there is a code of conduct when conducting business and using public relations. Public relations specialists have the ability to influence society. Fact-checking and presenting accurate information is necessary to maintain credibility with employers and clients.[53]

Public Relation Code of Ethics[edit]

The Public Relation Student Society of America has established a set of fundamental guidelines that people within the public relations professions should practice and use in their business atmosphere. These values are:

  • Advocacy: Serving the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for the clientele. This can occur by displaying the marketplace of ideas, facts and viewpoints to aid informed public debate.

  • Honesty: Standing by the truth and accuracy of all facts in the case and advancing those statements to the public.

  • Expertise: To become and stay informed of the specialized knowledge needed in the field of Public Relations. Taking that knowledge and improving the field through development, research and education. Meanwhile, professionals also build their understanding, credibility, and relationships to understand various audiences and industries.

  • Independence: Provide unbiased work to those that are represented while being accountable for all actions.

  • Loyalty: Stay devoted to the client while remembering that there is a duty to still serve the public interest.

  • Fairness: Honorably conduct business with any and all clients, employers, competitors, peers, vendors, media and general public. Respecting all opinions and right of free expression.[54]


Main article: Spin (public relations)

Spin has been interpreted historically to mean overt deceit that is meant to manipulate the public, but since the 1990s has shifted to describing a "polishing of the truth."[55] Today, spin refers to providing a certain interpretation of information meant to sway public opinion.[56] Companies may use spin to create the appearance of the company or other events are going in a slightly different direction than they actually are.[55] Within the field of public relations, spin is seen as a derogatory term, interpreted by professionals as meaning blatant deceit and manipulation.[57][58] Skilled practitioners of spin are sometimes called "spin doctors."

In Stuart Ewen's PR! A Social History of Spin, he argues that public relations can be a real menace to democracy as it renders the public discourse powerless. Corporations are able to hire public relations professionals and transmit their messages through the media channels and exercise a huge amount of influence upon the individual who is defenseless against such a powerful force. He claims that public relations is a weapon for capitalist deception and the best way to resist is to become media literate and use critical thinking when interpreting the various mediated messages.[59]

According to Jim Hoggan, " public relations is not by definition 'spin'. Public relations is the art of building good relationships. You do that most effectively by earning trust and goodwill among those who are important to you and your business... Spin us to public relations what manipulation is to interpersonal communications. It's a diversion whose primary effect is ultimately to undermine the central goal of building trust and nurturing a good relationship."[60]

The techniques of spin include selectively presenting facts and quotes that support ideal positions (cherry picking), the so-called "non-denial denial," phrasing that in a way presumes unproven truths, euphemisms for drawing attention away from items considered distasteful, and ambiguity in public statements. Another spin technique involves careful choice of timing in the release of certain news so it can take advantage of prominent events in the news.


See also: Negative campaigning

Negative public relations, also called dark public relations (DPR), 'black hat PR' and in some earlier writing "Black PR", is a process of destroying the target's reputation and/or corporate identity. The objective in DPR is to discredit someone else, who may pose a threat to the client's business or be a political rival. DPR may rely on IT securityindustrial espionagesocial engineering and competitive intelligence. Common techniques include using dirty secrets from the target, producing misleading facts to fool a competitor.[61][62][63][64] In politics, a decision to use negative PR is also known as negative campaigning.


The T.A.R.E.S. is a five-point test that evaluates ethical persuasion and provides boundaries in persuasive practices.

  • Truthfulness (of the message) examples

    • Is this communicating something factually true and accurate?

    • Does this downplay or diminish evidence?

    • Am I creating a false narrative or image?

    • Does this influence people to believe something that I do not believe myself?

  • Authenticity (of the persuader) examples

    • Will people question my honesty or integrity from this?

    • Do I truly believe that what is being presented will benefit those who are reading?

    • Do I support or advocate in the statement, person, or product?

  • Respect (for the persuadee) examples

    • Am I presenting statements in self-interest, or do I genuinely care about the issue, person, or product?

    • Is this presented to persuadees who are rational, self-thinking beings?

    • What ethical responsibility do I hold by presenting this information?

  • Equity (of the persuasive appeal) examples

    • Is this appeal fair and nondiscriminatory?

    • Have I target persuadees who are not capable of understanding the claims and the context?

    • Are the statements I present sensitive to various interests, needs, or concerns of the persuadees?

  • Social Responsibility (for the common good) examples

    • Have I unfairly stereotyped groups of society in my statements or actions?

    • Will my statements or actions cause harms to various groups of society?

    • Will there be any negative consequences against a group in society based on my statements or actions?

    • Have I fairly presented issues that concern groups who may have been underrepresented in society?

    • Are the statements or actions that are being communicated responsible to various societal groups, public interest, and the public?[65]

Politics and civil society[edit]

In Propaganda (1928), Bernays argued that the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democracy.[66] In public relations, lobby groups are created to influence government policy, corporate policy or public opinion, typically in a way that benefits the sponsoring organization.

In fact, Bernays stresses that we are in fact dominated in almost every aspect of our lives, by a relatively small number of persons who have mastered the 'mental processes and social patterns of the masses,’ which include our behavior, political and economic spheres or our morals.[67] In theory, each individual chooses his own opinion on behavior and public issues. However, in practice, it is impossible for one to study all variables and approaches of a particular question and come to a conclusion without any external influence. This is the reason why the society has agreed upon an 'invisible government' to interpret on our behalf information and narrow the choice field to a more practical scale.[68]

When a lobby group hides its true purpose and support base, it is known as a front group.[69] Front groups are a form of astroturfing, because they intend to sway the public or the government without disclosing their financial connection to corporate or political interests. They create a fake grass-roots movement by giving the appearance of a trusted organization that serves the public, when they actually serve their sponsors.

Politicians also employ public relations professionals to help project their views, policies and even personalities to their best advantages.[70][71]

As businesses increase their focus on digital marketing, many are turning to public relations (PR) to help boost their visibility and credibility. Of course, PR is one of the best ways to get your name out there and build thought leadership, but if you are one of the many companies considering media outreach as part of your digital marketing strategy, you can do some work ahead of time to increase your odds of success.

One element to consider as you lay the foundation for effective media outreach is social media. When a journalist gets intrigued about a business, one of the first things they may do is check it out on social media. Know what happens in many cases? It becomes apparent the company hasn’t been active on social media for some time.

Does it really matter if your brand is active on social media? 

I turned to my journalist friends on Twitter and asked just this. “When you get ready to cover a company," I sent out, "do you look to see if its website is up-to-date and if they’re active on social media? Or are those things meaningless?” Here are some of the responses I received:

  • “Definitely do ... doesn’t mean I’ll totally nix the story right away, but if neither is updated, it makes me leery of doing the story (like are they really doing what I’m being pitched) and makes my job much harder if I do decide to pursue it still.”

  • “I always check. For features I’ve been assigned, I try to focus only on the interview. But for roundups and mentions, I consider keeping a fresh online presence to be critical if I’m implying you are a thought leader or best-of in my article.”

  • “I want as much background information as possible. Plus, I want to be able to tag them in my social media posts.”

  • “It’s nice when you see a company knows online presence and SEO are important.” 

As you can see, it absolutely does matter to journalists if a brand is active on social media.

Research backs up these comments. In Muck Rack’s State of Journalism report, more than half (61%) of the journalists surveyed say they “usually” or “always” consult branded social media profiles when reporting on an organization.

If journalists feel it matters — and your goal is getting their attention — shouldn’t you invest some time in social media? (And while you’re at it, be sure your site is up-to-date. Add a press page if you haven’t yet.) 

Is Twitter important? 

Sometimes clients ask if Twitter needs to be part of their social media strategy. My answer is always yes, because that’s where journalists hang out. On that note, be sure to follow the reporters and media on whose radar you want to appear. It sounds so simple, but it’s an often-overlooked way to get them to take notice of you.

Start building the relationship before you need it. Like, share and comment on their posts. Don’t do it with an agenda, just start showing up in their feeds. Twitter works best, but you can also try this on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn — wherever that particular journalist seems to be the most active. 

Should your CEO be present on social media? 

What about your CEO and other C-suite executives? Should they be on social media? Again, the answer is yes.

Being present on social media increases trust with shareholders and employees. According to a Business Insider article, 65% of U.S. employees say it’s important for CEOs to actively communicate about their companies online, particularly during times of crisis. Further, 60% of employees say they would check an executive’s social media before joining a company.

On which platforms should executives choose to be active? LinkedIn and Twitter are the most popular with executives, while Facebook and Instagram are less so.

In a digital-first world, social media matters

Social media matters more than ever in our digital-first world. Yes, it’s vital for companies who want to start an earned media push. But beyond getting in front of journalists, social media also helps you reach:

  • Customers

  • Employees (and potential employees)

  • Shareholders

  • Fans and followers (who may become customers)

There is a method to the madness of being present on social media, particularly if you’re preparing to launch a PR push. Focus on that first for a greater chance that your earned media efforts will be a success.

The public relations industry does a terrible job of public relations.

Very few people can explain what people in public relations really do. If you’re a cop, a construction worker or a cowboy, everybody knows your job function.  (If you’re a cop, construction worker and a cowboy who hangs out with a guy dressed in leather, you’re in the Village People.)

As the owner of a boutique PR agency, I constantly have to explain that we don’t buy advertisements, we don’t order journalists to write stories for our clients, we don’t produce cute radio jingles, and we don’t hand out free samples at the mall. Yes, we try to promote our clients, our products or ourselves. But unlike advertisers, we persuade our external or internal audiences via unpaid or earned methods.  Whether it’s the traditional media, social media or speaking engagements, we communicate with our audiences through trusted, not paid, sources.

To help the general public understand public relations and how to use these skills, and for those in the industry who need to explain their jobs to their grandparents, the occasional stranger, and friends, here are Five Things Everyone Should Know about Public Relations.


  1.  What is public relations?

PR is the Persuasion Business.  You are trying to convince an audience, inside your building or town, and outside your usual sphere of influence, to promote your idea, purchase your product, support your position, or recognize your accomplishments. Here’s what the Public Relations Society of America PRSA agreed upon after a few thousand submissions:  “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”


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PR people are storytellers. They create narratives to advance their agenda.  PR can be used to protect, enhance or build reputations through the media, social media, or self-produced communications.  A good PR practitioner will analyze the organization, find the positive messages and translate those messages into positive stories.  When the news is bad, they can formulate the best response and mitigate the damage.

The Princeton Review notes that: “A public relations specialist is an image shaper. Their job is to generate positive publicity for their client and enhance their reputation … They keep the public informed about the activity of government agencies, explain policy, and manage political campaigns. Public relations people working for a company may handle consumer relations, or the relationship between parts of the company such as the managers and employees, or different branch offices.”

Our tools include the following:

  • Write and distribute press releases

  • Speech writing

  • Write pitches (less formal than press releases) about a firm and send them directly to journalists

  • Create and execute special events designed for public outreach and media relations

  • Conduct market research on the firm or the firm’s messaging

  • Expansion of business contacts via personal networking or attendance and sponsoring at events

  • Writing and blogging for the web (internal or external sites)

  • Crisis public relations strategies

  • Social media promotions and responses to negative opinions online

2. How is public relations different than advertising?

It’s Unpaid vs. Paid. Earned vs. Purchased. Credible vs. skeptical.  Public relations tastes great, advertising is less filling.

There’s an old saying: “Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.”

Advertising is paid media, public relations is earned media.  This means you convince reporters or editors to write a positive story about you or your client, your candidate, brand or issue.  It appears in the editorial section of the magazine, newspaper, TV station or website, rather than the “paid media” section where advertising messages appear.  So your story has more credibility because it was independently verified by a trusted third party, rather than purchased. Here’s a good chart from a previous column:



Another huge difference is price.  PR firms charge monthly retainers or can be hired for specific projects. Advertising can be very pricey.

A former client purchased one full-page ad in a weekly magazine that cost him $125,000.  He expected a wave of phone calls, viral media and multiple conversations about the ad.  He got zero.  In contrast, getting quoted in the New York Times, Forbes and Reuters resulted in national speaking invitations, calls from new and existing clients, and solid credibility. Not everyone can afford $125,000, but advertising can be expensive when you figure the cost of the space or time plus the creative designs and production costs.  And most advertisements need to be repeated several times before the consumer can be influenced.

Because it’s in their best interest to sell you more ads, advertising folks tell clients what you WANT to hear. “Baby you’re the best! You just need to pay for a few months more for billboards and TV spots!”  Because PR people deal with crises, image enhancement and creation of long-term relationships where your story often must be accepted by others (the media) before you obtain recognition, PR people tell you what you NEED to hear.

3.What is news?

Before hiring a PR firm or starting your own campaign, it’s important to understand the nature of news. There are only two ways to make news:  1) Create a story or 2) Follow a story.

This is of vital importance to anyone who wants to understand, execute and exploit the power of public relations. Before answering your client or boss who orders you to “Get me on the front page of the New York Times!”  Getting a story in a publication because you want it there, or your boss demands it, doesn’t matter. Remember, journalists, speakers, bloggers and other influencers are not stenographers.  They will ask “What’s in it for Me and my audience?”  In other words, pretend you are on the receiving end. Answer this: What’s the story? Why should I care? Why should I care NOW?

Here is more criteria to consider:  Is it new?  Is it unusual? Is there a human interest angle?  Here are the two ways to make news.

Create A Story.  This is the most common form of public relations.  It involves storytelling and. Most of the time, firms looking to make the news want to promote something fresh:  a new car, a new app, a new market, a new CEO or other significant hire, a new business plan, merger, winning an award, something of this nature.  Other methods of making news include bylined articles written for an independent publication, Opinion-Editorials (not about you, about a controversial topic), social media (blog posts, tweets, photos, videos, etc.), content marketing on your website, and more.

Some firms create their own events or speak in front of prestigious groups. This can be great, but it can be time consuming and expensive, with no guarantees of coverage. Many colleges and universities create news with surveys and original research. Entrepreneurs and small businesses usually can’t afford this expense.  It may be easier to conduct simple phone and email surveys of peers, clients and suppliers. A brief series of questions that result in new information that shed light on a certain issue might be newsworthy to the trade media.

Follow a Story.  Opportunity Knocks.  You answer. This is when you notice a story in the news, and respond.  It could be a plunge in the stock market; a political scandal; the economic effects of droughts or snowstorms; the popularity of a new crop and what it means for farmers and grain prices, etc. For breaking news, journalists often need an expert to comment in real time via a phone interview, video-conference, live video interview, Tweet, email or IM.  Reporters often contact their usual list of suspects, experts whom they know or trust. With some quick thinking, reaching out can lead to great new connections and media attention.

When the story isn’t immediate, businesses can insert themselves into a trend.  These are usually feature stories, in contrast to news happening today. If more law firms are cutting deals on hourly prices in return for guaranteed monthly retainers, and your attorneys signed a big deal like this with a major client, that’s one instance of a trend.

 4.  Can social media replace traditional media? 


There’s a growing perception that blog posts or Tweets, if enough people see them, are just as good as quotes in the New York Times.  Don’t be fooled by the hype. Social media can augment PR efforts and serve as an amplifier. Greg Galant, the CEO of the website Muckrack that connects PR practitioners to journalists, offers advice on for digital outreach.

“Boring doesn’t work on social media,” Galant says. “The last thing you want to do is take a press release and post it to a social network. It’s much better to tailor your announcement in a human way for each social network your audience will care about. On Twitter, come up with an exciting way to say your announcement in 107 characters, remember you’ll need to save 23 characters for your link. Find a great image related to your announcement to include on your posts in Instagram and Pinterest. Make a 6 second video about you announcement for Vine. Even on social networks where you can posts a lot of text, like Facebook and Tumblr, don’t post a press release. Rewrite it without the jargon, stock quotes and meaningless phrases as though you’re telling a friend why your announcement matters.”

Bonus advice:  punch up your prose, such as imagining your headline as a tweet.

The Princeton Review notes that Digital PR is about “developing strong relationships with all the players in your social graph. The techniques include SEO, content development, social media, online newsrooms, websites, blogs and online media coverage. Online Reputation Social media and consumer generated content can have a rapid effect on your reputation – both positive and negative.”

“Building relationships Digital PR makes use of social media platforms, networks and tools to interact with people online and build relationships. The social media part is the content and conversations on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube. The Digital PR part is the support functions needed to make those conversations relevant and effective – research, social audits, identifying influencers, developing and distributing the content.”

Author and digital media expert David Meerman Scott (“The New Rules of Marketing & PR”) preaches speed and relevance.  Scott recommends these actions:  “Blog your take on the news,” “Tweet it using an established hashtag,” “Send a real-time media alert,” “Hold a live or virtual news conference” and “Directly contact a journalist who might be interested.”

5. Can you measure PR?


But it’s not an exact science. There are many people and firms who have created many models, spreadsheets, and estimates. And let’s be clear. They are all estimates. Some are much better than others. This is easily the most emotionally charged subject in the PR industry.

Many professionals swear by the Barcelona Principles.  These are seven voluntary guidelines established by professionals in the industry to measure the value of PR campaigns. The first principles were established in 2010 when practitioners from 33 countries met in Lisbon, Portugal. Just kidding, it was Barcelona. We will be examining this in more detail, including an interview with the author, in a future column. Measuring and judging and calculating the seven principles can be complicated, time consuming and costly, and this may involve hiring an outside firm, but it’s a noble effort and it’s worth further study.  The principles were recently updated in 2015.

I don’t agree with their rejection of advertising equivalency for three reasons: user experience, buyer experience and the free market. User experience: Ads and editorial are seen at the same time, you cannot divorce one from the other. Buyer experience: businesses make the decision every day to spend their marketing funds on PR or advertising. It’s a choice grounded in reality. Free market: tens of billions of dollars are spent on TV, internet and print advertising every year. It’s a huge business that tries to communicate many of the same messages of PR, albeit in a different way.

But reasonable people can disagree. The Barcelona Principles, or anything else that bolsters the comprehension and value of the PR industry, is a good thing. Without efforts like these, nobody would know what we do.  And if that happens, all of us might as well join a cover band for the Village People.

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