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PR or not PR that is the question

One problem that a lot of small businesses consistently come to me with is that they don’t really understand what PR is. Many people confuse it with advertising and others think it is solely about being in newspapers and magazines, but it is so much more than that. Here is a brief overview of what PR is and what it isn’t.

What it is.

The CIPR definition of PR is “Public Relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.

More simply as somebody once said "everything you do and say is public relations". It’s not just getting seen in the paper or in your favourite glossy magazine it’s how you come across at networking events, what you’re saying on social and much more. Some examples of what PR involves are:

· Storytelling

· Networking/business events

· Community relations

· Media relations

· Customer relations

· Crisis communications

· Internal communications

· Advertorials

· Newsletters

· Blogs

· Speaking opportunities

These are just some of the things that public relations covers and whilst I would always say that social media is a different specialism it is important that you tie your PR to your social. This will help ensure that your messaging is consistent and social will also help you maximise the leverage you get from your PR.

What it isn’t

As well as PR not being the key to a hedonistic lifestyle in the style of Patsy from Ab Fab or the continuous glamour of swanky launches and guestlist entry to new bars as portrayed by Samantha in Sex and the City it also isn’t advertising, marketing, or branding and here’s why.


Advertising is paid for space. The company paying for the space can dictate the size of space they get, when and what it says but there is a cost involved. PR is based on building a favourable public image through relationship building and reputation management.


Marketing is focused on promoting and selling a specific product to increase sales and may involve buying ad space, direct marketing campaigns, creating brochures and market research amongst other things. PR is focuses on maintaining a positive reputation for a company as a whole and focuses on the long-term relationships. Whilst different in nature the goals are the same to improve how the business is seen and in turn increase the profitability of the brand.


Your brand is the full expression of your business—it’s the public’s perception of how you look, sound, and act. Ultimately, your brand is your reputation. PR is there to maintain that reputation.

All four disciplines together are known as the marketing mix and in an ideal world should be used in conjunction with each other to give your company a number of ways to reach your audience and help your business to be seen in its best light.

To find out more about how Beck and Call PR can help your business visit or email

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