Media VS Public Relations: The Differences Explained

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Let’s cut to the chase. The world of marketing is… confusing. The line between media relations and public relations can get a bit blurry at times, so blurry in fact, that many people think they are one and the same. But, take it from a public relations expert, they are quite different! Not to mention understanding the difference between the two is crucial to help you choose the route that best fulfills your overall marketing needs.

Before you create your marketing plan for your business or brand, keep reading to learn more about the difference between these methods. I also include some of my tips below to help you decide which method – media relations vs public relations – will offer you the best results!

Understanding The Differences Between Media And PR 

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Difference #1: They Have Different Marketing Objectives

Media relations, unlike public relations, generally serves one purpose: to convey information to the public about a business or brand. Simple!

Difference #2: They Have Different Marketing Tactics 

Public relations focuses on finding and attracting the people who are most likely going to be interested in that particular business or brand. This requires cultivating a lasting, positive reputation for the business or brand to ensure they are viewed favorably in the public eye.

These are just a handful of tactics that PR agencies use to attract positive awareness for a business or brand: Interviewing over Zoom 1820x1213 1

  • Host various types of events
  • Provide media relations services (again, different from public relations!)
  • Provide damage control to a business’s reputation in the event of a crisis, otherwise called “crisis PR”
  • Manage digital media marketing
  • Manage social media coverage

As mentioned above, media relations mainly focuses on conveying information about a business or brand, and because of this difference, experts use a separate set of tactics to attract the public’s eyes and ears such as a public service announcement or advertisement via print, radio, or TV. We also cannot forget that there is a growing digital advertising category that stands on its own.

Difference #3: They Have Different Responsibilities

Public relations experts are responsible for constructing the concept, content, creation, and execution of the story. In other words, they handle every part of the process from beginning to end.

Compared to a PR agency’s seemingly never-ending to-do list, media relations experts have it easy. They simply broadcast already-made content for the public to view on the channels that best fit that content.

Media Relations VS Public Relations – Deciding Which Is Best For You

Now that you have a better understanding of the differences between media and public relations, you may be wondering which route would benefit your business or brand the most, whether it’s a little advertising or a full-blown public relations campaign. 

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Here are some insights from a longtime expert who’s been there!

Determine The Age And Reputation Of The Business Or Brand

Businesses or brands that are well-established with a positive reputation may not need to utilize a full-service PR agency. Instead, they may be able to focus their marketing budget solely on promoting new products and sales events, which is where media relations comes in!

If your business or brand is well-established…

You can save a lot of time and money by building a relationship with media representatives and focusing on well-timed advertisements rather than a full-blown public relations campaign.

Just remember that even if you don’t need the full-time services of a PR agency, you may still need to utilize a professional to help create your content – whether it be video or print media. Why? Viewers will take your business or brand more seriously if you have a high-quality video or well-designed print ad. 

Most consumers can tell if something is “homemade”, so try not to skimp when it comes to creating your marketing content!

If your business or brand is in its beginning stages or needs damage control…

Public relations services can be a lifesaving tactic that is well worth the money and hard work. 

When you are just starting out in the public relations world, it can be difficult to bring awareness to your business or brand, especially if other businesses are providing similar products or services. With so much competition, it can be necessary to utilize the services of a PR agency to help build your name and reputation. 

Public relations can also be extremely helpful if your business or brand has had any negative press that has hurt its reputation. Public relations experts can really do some magic for your brand or business by creating press releases or promoting events to turn its reputation from a negative one into a positive one!

Media VS Public Relations – Closely Related But With Distinct Differences 

As you can see, it is easy to see why so many people use the terms “public relations” and “media relations” interchangeably. Now, that you recognize the differences and have a better understanding of how they both work, you will be able to take advantage of the benefits they offer in your next marketing campaign.

If you’re ready to put these tactics into practice, check out my FREE e-book, 5 PR Hacks You Can Use Right Now to Get On TV, Attract More Leads, Position Yourself as a Trusted Authority, and Dominate Your Competition (And What NOT To Do).
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