PR Sense: Why Marketing Is Advertising Is Public Relations


Share on LinkedIn

I worked with a client some years back who had an impressive media budget, a growing customer base, and enviable attention from well-placed journalists — and still managed to fizzle rather than explode. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to avoid that fate.

The central problem was an insistence on departmental boundaries that defied all sense of media logic. Not only did the left hand not know what the right hand was doing, but the feet were moving in opposite directions, and one side of the mouth wasn’t on speaking terms with the other. Everyone was doing a bang-up job on their own little section, but the result was a lot more Frankenstein than Leviathan.

It certainly makes sense to have creative and logistical teams who tackle different areas of your company’s promotion — there is no guarantee, after all, that your spokesperson would make a great media buyer. But without coordination — a unifying vision, and an overarching strategy — your odds of projecting cohesion and competence plummet. This may sound painfully obvious, but believe me, it is often forgotten: You simply must have a creative team in charge of public outreach ranging from interview pitching to paid advertising. Otherwise you will waste time, money, and the public’s interest creating publicity fragments that don’t add up to an appealing whole.

Many companies these days have dealt with the changing media landscape by adding more pieces to the promotional puzzle: departments of social media, online advertising, community advocacy, etc., ad nauseum. Fine components all, but only if everyone follows a few Golden Rules of All Media:

  1. Creatives Coordinate — Media and outreach teams should talk regularly under the watchful eye of the chief strategy team. Siloed work buries gems and, eventually, companies.
  2. Ideas Interlock – Facebook ads, targeted tweets, bylines, interviews, TV buys, and social community building are a support structure for an idea, not competing strategies. As Ben Franklin said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
  3. Genius Works Top Down and Bottom Up — No ego or turf war is more important than a winning campaign. A successful strategy team will take constructive feedback from anywhere, while maintaining cohesion and leadership.

Having ad copy run off in one direction and press releases careen in another is a recipe for squandering a company’s potential. Real PR is a holistic approach, crafting a public face that is supported by every interaction in every medium — a virtual web of arguments in favor of a shared vision of the company. Those arms and legs do vital work, but only in coordination with a brain.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kate Schackai
Kate combines a technical understanding of web 2.0 with classic PR savvy, resulting in online communications that both humans and Google love. She joins Crawford from WordPress development firm TCWebsite, where she worked in online marketing and search engine optimization.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here