Matte PRWhat is Public Relations?

What is Public Relations?

It’s a scene all PR pros are familiar with. You’re at a family function, and your distant uncle asks, “So what exactly do you do?” Not everyone gets what public relations is, and it’s not always easy to explain, so we’re breaking it down for you.


In simple terms, public relations is managing a brand, organization or individual’s reputation. It’s about building awareness, showing the world exactly who their client is, what they do and how they got here. Our job is to keep the public informed and engaged, leveraging media relations, social media, influencer marketing, and more, to hone a client’s image, ensuring its key messages and initiatives are out in the world for all to see and, most importantly, that they’re clear and cohesive. 


Public relations is a process, not an event 

In the current business landscape, the market is highly competitive and consumers find pertinence in brand ethics and values. As today’s consumer longs for more authenticity and transparency on how the products they purchase are made, the story behind a brand, the founders, and their mission is more important than ever. This doesn’t happen overnight.



One story in the press, one viral influencer post, or one show-stopping event isn’t going to convey the many facets of your brand. Building a trusting community is a process, which is managed over time. Reputation derives from continued work, so while an event might catch the eye of a consumer, consistency makes them brand evangelists.


Is public relations the same as marketing?

Traditional marketing is a strategic approach involving campaigns and messages designed to promote and sell products or services. Public relations, on the other hand, is about managing the organic perceptions people form about your brand. This perception is influenced by their interactions with your business, sometimes subconsciously, in the media and online.


Public relations services effectively encompass all aspects of a brand’s identity, packaging ideas, products, services and stories. Consistent coverage across all forms of media helps educate customers and build trust. That’s why PR is crucial for establishing and maintaining a strong brand presence. 


The intersection between digital marketing and PR has never been stronger. In a shrinking print media landscape, magazines and newspapers are placing more focus than ever on their digital platforms. Journalists and editors aren’t waiting for pitches to land on their desks, they’re seeking out their new favourite names on social media. That’s why successful public relations is all about understanding how digital marketing and PR connect and leveraging them to maximize impact and complement one another. 


When PR pros strategize a media campaign, they should be thinking about not only how to disseminate the story to media, but how it will be conveyed on the brand’s owned digital properties.



Media relations vs. public relations: what’s the difference?

Media relations is a subset of public relations focusing on the connection between a company and the media. While these terms are often linked, they are not interchangeable. Media relations specifically involves building and maintaining relationships with journalists and media outlets, ensuring your client is top of mind when they’re working on relevant stories. It’s about bringing the brand stories you want to share directly to editors’ desks.


In today’s digital landscape, media relations activities have expanded beyond traditional outlets. Household-name publications are no longer the only trusted source. Whether it’s podcasts, Substack, YouTube, or Medium, independent online creators are now seen as an equally reliable, if not more reliable, source of truth and consumer recommendations. Strategic media relations campaigns should leverage all media sources as a conduit to the public.


Still have questions?

Look through our list of case studies to see how we use the many dynamic facets of public relations to elevate our clients’ image.

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