Good PR: Strong public relations is more than just press releases and party girls

It seems that not everyone is sure of what PR is and how it works, especially in an age where social media rules and that lines between PR and marketing are blurred. Often confused with advertising and frequently associated with celebrities and party girls, PR is a bit misunderstood. Here is some basic info on what PR is and how it works.

PR IS...

PR IS A GREAT WAY TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR TARGET MARKET.  Done right, PR creates brand awareness and helps to establish a point of difference from the competition. It also can lend credibility to a new company or service. PR coverage is “earned” rather than paid for (like advertising) so that means an unbiased third party, who is deemed “in-the-know” by their audience, is giving their seal of approval on a product or service. Often earned media seems to have more of an impact then advertising, and resonates more deeply with readers.

PR IS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS. In 2015 those relationships stretch far beyond just the traditional media and include print and digital editors, bloggers, influencers, stylists, writers, producers, on-air talent and a slew of other interesting titles. Years ago PR was a bit more defined but with the introduction of social media, lines have been blurred and the boundaries between PR and marketing have softened. There is far more interplay and overlap. PR covers a lot more ground so it’s important to constantly be reinforcing existing relationships and establishing new ones.

PR IS A CHANGING INDUSTRY that requires creativity and adaptability. The digital landscape is constantly evolving and the end consumer is now used to quick nuggets of info and short burst of news that can be easily digested. In addition to the ever-important feature story, media coverage in things like “listicles”, digital/shoppable product roundups, influencer partnerships and ongoing social media have become an important part of any PR and marketing initiative that can have as much impact as the most established traditional print/broadcast coverage.

PR IS ABOUT GETTING NOTICED. It’s competitive out there. Even if you have relationships you are still up against a lot of other people/product/companies/ services and many are just as fabulous and ingenious as whatever you are bringing to the table. It’s about having what you do and how you do it catch the attention of the chosen intermediary. In overcrowded inboxes, sometimes the subject of the email is as important as the actual content! It’s all about standing out.


PR IS NOT ADVERTISING.  It’s earned media a.k.a editorial coverage. True editorial coverage can’t be purchased. It’s earned. It’s won! Via lots and lots of time spent strategizing, emailing and talking. While PR isn’t paid for it also isn’t necessarily free either. Publicity requires the expenditure of mass amounts of time and effort by an in-house point person or a partnering agency. While you may not be spending dollars doing a media buy it will require some measure of capital investment to cover the time commitment it requires to create the interest. 

True editorial coverage can’t be purchased. It’s earned. It’s won!

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PR IS NOT EASY. For every bit of media coverage that is actually featured there were at least a zillion pitches that went out that were passed on. In PR you get way more “no’s” than “yes’s”. It’s takes an almost obsessive level of outreach, creativity and strategy to secure any press coverage. Especially if the brand/product is new or unknown.  Diligence, persistence and a thick skin are required to be successful along with stellar relationships and the ability to stay on top of opportunities without being annoying. Don’t assume you will have a cover story or a national placement right away. It’s an ongoing process but the results are worth it.

PR IS NOT ABOUT ONE-HIT-WONDERS. While there are those media opportunities that can change a business overnight, PR is largely about ongoing outreach and consistent coverage. It requires imagination and the ability to make something that isn’t always new or even newsworthy interesting. PR is meant to be a long-term investment and shouldn’t be viewed as a quick fix. Seeding a brand and building momentum with the media takes time, creativity and even a bit of luck. 

PR IS NOT JUST ABOUT PRESS RELEASES and distribution services.  Back in the day, a traditional press release would be written, pitched and then shared via a distribution service. With the rise of social media and the internet, a press release has become less important. It’s still a worthwhile informational tool to have in your arsenal but image heavy, copy-light outreach is preferred. Media contacts are inundated with information and want “snackable” bursts of info that they can review and decide on quickly.  

Jessy Fofana founded La Rue PR over ten years ago after successfully directing public relations and marketing initiatives for an impressive list of well-known fashion, home décor, lifestyle and cosmetics brands and retailers.  Having worked in both digital and print magazine publishing as well as co-founding a fashion and lifestyle brand that she later sold, Jessy and her team at LaRue PR understand exactly what it takes to create the kind of take-notice, multi-faceted campaign that delivers brand-changing buzz.  With an experienced team of professionals, LaRue PR covers all the bases including print and digital media coverage, influencer relations, synergistic brand partnerships and more.  LaRue PR provides the skill and experience of a large agency with the creativity, dedication and affordability that can only be offered by a boutique firm.


Kate Williams

Writer + editorial director in Los Angeles. Reading books + watching palm trees.