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What is the difference between Public Relations by a PR Firm and Publicity?

People mostly get confused between the terms Public Relations and publicity as they think that both the terms are the same. It is very important to clear this popular misconception and understand the actual purpose and meaning of both terms.

Let us understand with an example of a restaurant. After opening a new restaurant, who will you contact, a publicist or a PR firm, to attract more guests to the restaurant? On the other hand, if the restaurant faces some unfortunate incident like food poisoning and many people get affected by it, which one will save you, Public Relations by a PR agency or publicity done by a publicist?

In simple words, with the help of publicity, you will be in the headlines but with the help of a leading PR agency, a brand will be created.

Publicity is the promotion of any brand or service in the media to create awareness about it among the public.  It is done to attract the attention of the general public towards the brand.

While Public Relations is the strategic management of accomplishing a company’s goals of spreading awareness about the brand, maintaining its positive image, and building trust among the general public by sending appropriate messages to them.

Hence, we can say that publicity is just one tool of Public Relations. A PR company manages the reputation of the brand and helps in building a positive relationship with the target audiences. Along with all this, at the same time, a PR agency helps in crisis communication and management.

It is the responsibility of the PR professionals to stay ready with a crisis management and communication plan in advance. The backup plan has to be ready at the time of crisis to avoid any damage to the client’s reputation. This is known as crisis PR. The team works with the legal team of the company and takes care of all the critical information. Leakage of any critical information can cause serious damage to the reputation of the company. Hence, it is the responsibility of the PR team to take care of all these factors.

Any blogger who writes good blogs cannot be considered a journalist. In the same way, doing PR is not a cup of tea for anyone. There should be an agenda behind doing a PR and it has to be very clear. It has to be very clear that is it done for simple publicity or the steps are taken to establish a relationship with the target audiences. At every step, it is important to check in which direction the PR strategies are going. Are they giving enough time to maintain a fruitful relationship with the related audiences or just doing it to get highlighted in the headlines?

Publicity is all about pitching the latest events and stories to the media. But in PR it is only one part of the job along with several other ones.

Now, here are the answers to the questions we have asked in the restaurant example.

  • After opening a new restaurant, you must contact a publicist for the publicity of the restaurant.
  • While to handle the damage control like food poisoning or to cover about the restaurant chain’s expansion you must contact a best PR firm for pure Public Relations.

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