But really, what is PR?


When I first started Gab Communications 18 months ago, I wasn’t really sure how exactly it would evolve as far as the varying writing and marketing services I initially offered to clients. Content marketing was and still is a trendy service to provide, but in a world where social media platforms and algorithms change almost daily, I found that clients were looking to get a little something more – something with more hold, more meaning, more strategy, more interest.

Turns out, that “something” was really just PR (public relations).

When I tell people we specialize in PR for small businesses and events, I usually get a nod and something along the lines of “that’s really cool.” Yes, most people have heard of PR in terms of the profession, but I’d be willing to bet many of them don’t actually understand what it is or how it works.

The industry association – the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) – defines PR as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

A lot of people I’ve come across get PR confused with other intertwining industries – marketing, social media, writing, event planning, journalism. I understand why they might get confused, as PR certainly involves those industries. But let’s be very clear that PR is not any of those things alone.

In a recent AdWeek article about PR’s place in 2016, Claudia Strauss, CEO of Grey Activation & PR, made a solid point: “[PR is] not really traditionally understood by many,” she said. “We’re not buying eyeballs. When you buy an ad, you’re guaranteeing eyeballs, but when you’re earning, you need to engineer the content for news—you don’t have a choice.”

Engineer your content. Think about it. Do you know how to effectively engineer content to drive traffic to your business?

What it isPR is strategic communication. It’s earned coverage. It’s how you’re perceived by your community. It’s connecting with your audience on a deeper level. It’s being consistent with your message. It’s strategic tactics that may bring in prospective clients, or current clients who refer future business and partners. It’s connecting with the media for earned coverage.

What it isn’t: PR isn’t advertising (paying to place media, whether video, image, or written content, on a particular site), guest posting (when a member of your company writes posts for high-profile publications), or content marketing.


If there’s one important lesson you take away from this blog post, it should be that PR is not advertising. There’s an old saying:  “Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.”

In fact, check this out: A recent study by Nielsen commissioned by inPowered on the role of content in the consumer decision-making process concluded that PR is almost 90% more effective than advertising.

Ultimately, your successful PR campaign begins with a knowledgable and motivated communications professional.  

Wondering how we can create a powerhouse plan for your business’s communication efforts? Gab Communications is currently taking a limited number of PR clients for summer and fall 2016. Shoot us a note and let’s talk soon!

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