How PR can help your business 101

I recently had the honour of chatting to a group of business owners, passionate about their products or services and wanting to know more about how PR could help their business. We discussed what exactly is PR? What is the difference between PR and Marketing? And how PR can help them!

Below is a summary of our discussion, which I promised to publish here as a useful resource.


  • Often centres around third party endorsement and influencers
  • Not you saying how amazing your business or product is, it is about getting someone else to do it for you!
  • Can be in the traditional space (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV) or online space (social media, forums, blogs, review sites etc)


You’ve worked out your marketing objectives and are ready to brief your consultant.  But who do you brief – the marketing guys or your PR consultants?

Here’s a shorthand guide to help you navigate your way through:

  • The campaign or activity you are planning is about building relationships. It’s PR.
  • You are selling something and your sole purpose is sales, sales, sales. It’s marketing, but sometimes PR can help.
  • You want to influence your target audience’s opinion/change their perceptions. It’s PR.
  • You want to increase product awareness. It’s marketing, but sometimes PR can help.
  • The campaign is a slow-burn strategy that builds over the longer term.  It’s PR.
  • It’s a short term campaign with immediate results, which come to an end as soon as the campaign is over. It’s marketing.
  • The campaign tells a story, backed up by facts, figures, quotes and third party comment. It’s PR.
  • The campaign is built around a single slogan or proposition. It’s marketing.
  • The impact of the campaign is long lasting. It’s PR.
  • The campaign involves an offer or discount.  It’s marketing.

The tools that are used in both disciplines are also different. PR uses a range of channels, from media relations and community engagement, to sponsorship and social media.

Marketing is focused around advertising, promotions, point of sale material and other marketing collateral, and brand positioning.


  • People more than ever are trusting word of mouth recommendations from people they know, respect and trust.
  • They are more likely to be interested in a product with a positive review on social media by someone they know than product details show in an ad in a newspaper by the company selling it.
  • Journalists are often seen as third party, credible sources so securing editorial in a paper about your business is trusted more than buying advertising space.
  • PR helps you build TRUST, credibility and relationships.


  • When people trust your company, they’re more likely to buy your products and services, recommend them to others, and share positive opinions online (which is critical when the #1 trusted media source is online search engines – check out Edelman’s Trust Baramoter here); of course there’s a flip-side to this if people don’t trust your brand!
  • According to Edelman (check out the link above), ‘My friends and family’ have rocketed ahead in the trust stakes, followed by a third-party academic or internal/technical expert, so how do we get those people talking about you?

What does this mean for you and what can you do yourself?

Consider the following:

  • How can you influence people to talk positively about your brand to their friends and family? Reviews on social sites? Google Maps etc? Build ambassadors. Build relationships with your customers.
  • How can you get an industry expert to talk about you? Could the be a guest blogger on your web page perhaps? Can you send them your product to review?
  • As the business owner get out there openly and transparently – this will help build trust in your personal brand. This can be in the media (online and offline), speaking at events, etc – remember to tell the story of you – why you do what you do and what makes you different. People will always do business with people.
  • Ensure your website (owned media) is up to date and contains useful, relationship building information
  • How can you get the story about your business in the media (newspaper, magazine, radio, TV – obviously always in a meaningful place where your ideal customer hangs out – no point being on the front cover of Fisherman’s Weekly if you sell cars!)
  • How can you get your story / products in front of well known online bloggers and influencers?

If you want to know more about PR and how it can help you, of course I would love to have a chat – you can get in touch here. 


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