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We have all heard the terms media relations and public relations used interchangeably, but have you ever thought about what each of these terms actually represents?
Although there is some overlap between the two, it’s important to recognize that they are two separate entities and have different objectives and approaches. While one places a huge emphasis on companies’ interactions with journalists, the other focuses on how companies are interacting with the public through different communication mediums.
While both are equally important, it’s vital to understand what media relations is and how you can utilize it within your strategy. If you haven’t already, check out this comprehensive media relations guide to learn more about what it is, why it’s important, and how to incorporate it into your existing strategy.
The value of media relations is enormous, especially in regard to public relations and hitting your goals. It is the foundation to a strong PR strategy and is essential to building out your list of trusted reporters who also trust YOU.
Instead of rambling off definitions and differences between the two, we decided to take this question to Twitter to talk with the experts about how they separate the two and what makes them necessary:
What is the difference between media relations & public relations? #prrequest
— Jered Martin (@JmoMonk) July 7, 2020
Jim Boyle, Boyle Public Affairs
“Media relations is a subset of public relations, with a goal of influencing external audiences to take an action such a buy a product or make a contribution, usually with some preliminary steps along the way.
To achieve public relations goals, strong media relations are key.”
Valerie Mumia, Unchartered PR
“Public relations looks after the image and reputation of an organization, person or brand among its publics whereas media relations looks after the mutual relationship between a brand, organization/person and the media.”
Anne Whitehead, Whitehead Communications
“Media Relations’ involves managing relationships with the media.
Public Relations’ involves managing relationships with everyone: from your employees to investors, suppliers to customers, local community to government regulators, partners to protestors, and so on.”
Marlena Medford, Freelance writer
“PR asks: Will you take a bite of this story I’m serving?
Media relations asks: How can I help you cook-up your own story?”
Sarah Erkmann Ward, Blueprint Alaska
“Media relations is but one of many specialty areas that fall under the public relations umbrella. Other areas, for example, are reputation management, crisis communications, stakeholder engagement, advocacy, etc.”
While similar, media relations is the driver for public relations and finding success within the industry whether that be for yourself or your client/brand. At the end of the day, relationships move stories forward so it’s important that you invest time in seeking out and building up relationships that are mutually beneficial.
Want to know more? Check out Ashley Graham’s people-relations approach to PR to learn about her 4 psychology-backed approaches to building relationships with media “influences” and growing a community. She dives into communication style, mindfulness & emotion, energy & personality, and integrity & truth.
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