So what is PR?


We’re often approached, either out of the blue or when we’re attending industry events, by many businesses asking what PR actually is. What can we do for them? Well, let me attempt to set the record straight on public relations. 

There are agencies out there (and I have worked for at least one of them!) that think harassing journalists on the phone all day to blatantly plug their clients’ products in order to be placed in a glossy mag is all in the name of PR. In my humble view, this is everything it shouldn’t be or isn’t!

One of the main criticisms of PR isn’t so much attacking PR itself, but actually relating to examples (such as the one above) of certain communications tactics used by PR people that are being carried out in a poor way.

A PR specialist communicates with the target audience directly or indirectly through media with an aim to create and maintain a positive image and create a strong relationship with the audience.  This can be done in a variety of ways, for instance through social media, digital content such as blogs, vlogs and customer newsletters, editorial such as technical features, press releases and case studies, and events such as exhibitions, press trips, product launches and stakeholder events.

However, this really is just your ‘bread and butter’ PR and the tip of the iceberg as far as offering a full PR service goes. PR isn’t the same as marketing or advertising. In advertising, you pay to have your message placed in a magazine or online. In public relations, the message that features your company’s technology, services or products isn’t paid for. It is the job of any PR person worth their salt to write, for example, an article that provides the readership with an informative source that has been extensively researched. It will also be remembered far longer than an ad and tends to have greater credibility with the public.

Marketing, on the other hand, while being closely related to PR, is more direct and aggressive, working on what they call the four Ps: products, price, place, and promotion. Overall, marketing activities are trying to achieve direct revenue, while the aim of PR is to enhance an organisation’s reputation through an effective strategy.

PR works in sync with both of these disciplines, to support the overall objective of boosting a company’s reputation and brand awareness. Crucially, marketing is most effective when backed by PR.

So, if you want to encourage your target market to sit up and listen to what you have to say, to demonstrate your expertise so that you can be heard above the background noise and position you as a market leader in your field, then that’s what we’re here for!

If you’re contemplating dipping your toe into the pool of PR or would like to know how to connect more with your customers as well as reach new ones, give us a buzz on 01858 681122 or drop an email to for a free face-to-face consultation. To find out more about Hornby Whitefoot PR, visit