Lately, I’ve been talking to folks who say they know what publicity is, then ask what exactly do I do as a publicist.
Publicity is a subset of public relations (PR). PR is a subset of marketing. So to understand exactly what publicity is, you need to understand marketing and PR.
Let’s start with marketing. Marketing is a direct approach toward sales to the consumer. Marketing allows you to craft your message exactly as you want it presented to the public.
Public relations encompasses publicity, but also includes such things as investor relations, crisis communications, special events and sponsorships, brochures, SEO, social media, and other activities designed to mold opinion.
Publicity focuses on gaining “earned media.” Earned media is coverage in local and mass media outlets that is not paid for, but rather is written by independent and objective reporters. Publicity involves television, radio, print and online interviews, press releases, press conferences and reviews.
The following example may help to make the concepts more clear.
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.
If the town’s citizens go the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.
– Reader’s Digest, “Promoting Issues and Ideas” by M. Booth and Associates, Inc.
I am a PR practitioner, with a main focus on publicity. With technology changing, publicity and PR are overlapping more and more. After all, a press release can serve many purposes, and I try to give my clients the best bang for their buck by using a press release, and other PR tools in as many ways as possible for maximum outreach and exposure.
If you’re looking to increase your reach with prospects, get media exposure, and raise your search engine rankings, my publicity programs are for you, because that’s the approach I take. The approach uses a lot of creativity because I find unique ideas that are often times trending topics, which will get you more attention.
I look ahead and forecast what will be discussed online, as well as in traditional media and craft messages around that. For example, my DIY membership program Penny Pinching Publicity, we had press releases about January being Customer Service Month (with a focus on how your business will be improving the customer relationship), another about business resolutions for December, and even one about the Woman’s Business Month.
Many members are using these releases with much success, getting media coverage (some in major markets including San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas ) and are also seeing more prospects coming to them as trusted experts.