A lot of people think PR is all about spin, hype and press. But public relations is actually a creative communication tool that can help your business make human connections and build brand value. How? We’ll explain that in a bit.

But first, let’s debunk the most common PR myths.

PR is Propaganda. For an industry created to manage a brand’s image, PR has a bit of a bad reputation. Why? Because many people (incorrectly) equate PR with propaganda. While both PR and propaganda are meant to positively influence public opinion — PR builds trust with truth, while propaganda manipulates with misinformation. Knowing the difference between the two separates the real PR professionals from the sleazy spin doctors.

PR is Publicity. PR is press releases and press conferences, right? Wrong. While publicity is often the biggest part of the picture, PR encompasses much more than gaining media attention. A PR professional manages overall brand image, crafting communications ranging from newsletters to magazine articles to blog posts to speeches. In fact, a good PR strategy might involve avoiding publicity at times.

PR is Advertising. Advertising and PR are often used interchangeably, but as the old adage goes, “Advertising is paid, PR is earned.” Moreover, the two play completely different roles. The goal of PR is to gain trust and credibility through positive exposure, while the goal of advertising is to promote a product or service through paid announcements. Advertising makes sales, while PR builds relationships.

PR is Journalism. While a good PR professional must be able to research, report, write and interview, their job is still very different from a journalist’s. The most significant difference is that a journalist’s primary responsibility is educating the public without swaying their opinion, while PR professionals sway all day!  A PR professional’s work is generating favorable attitudes, conversation and action towards your business.

Now that we know what PR is not, let’s talk about what PR is.

At its core, PR is influencing, engaging and inspiring the communities closest to your organization. Whether it’s your employees, your customers or your board of directors — your relationships with your stakeholders need meaningful communication to thrive! And PR establishes and maintains that dialogue. Whether it’s through internal or external channels, PR is sharing the right message with the right audience at the right time. And while ultimately PR is only part of your brand story, it is critical to the success of any business.

Kelley & Associates can manage any PR project from press kits to annual reports to crisis communications. Visit our portfolio to see some of our recent PR projects.