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The difference between public relations and media relations can be confusing. They sound similar and even PR pros sometimes use them interchangeably. In fact, as more channels of communication develop, the lines between the two are seemingly more blurred than ever. However, there are specific aspects that separate these these communication terms and it’s important to understand the vernacular before embarking on a “PR campaign.”
The Public Relations Society of America defines public relations as, “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
Which raises the question: Who are “their publics”?
Customers and prospects both fall into this bucket. As do community members, employees and even competitors. Pretty much anyone who is a stakeholder in your business or industry could be considered part of the “public” in “public relations.” Media relations, on the other hand, narrows that field.
Media relations encompasses a company’s interactions with a very specific audience: those individuals who comprise the public-facing press and news media. These could be editors and reporters at online and print media outlets like The New York Times and Techcrunch, or producers from TV and radio stations.
Where the lines begin to blur is when everyday people act as journalists, using social media or blogging platforms to report on and even break news. It’s known citizen journalism — the collection, dissemination and analysis of news and information by the general public —and as it continues to grow, who can be looped under the category of “media” changes. And, as a result, so do the target audiences of media relations efforts.
Still unclear about what distinguishes media relations from public relations? Here are three other ways to differentiate the two:
Understanding the difference between public relations and media relations and how each can benefit your business can help determine which best matches the needs of your company.
Think you’re ready to get started with media relations? Download our Guide to Storytelling to learn how you can earn press coverage without a press release.
These articles have been curated by our friends at BLASTmedia, a national PR agency focusing on media relations for B2B technology companies.