People often think you buy PR like you order a pizza: on demand, with all the seasonings and toppings you want.
But PR can't be boxed. A service business, it's dependent in part on the media and others to tell its story, and on marketing and word-of-mouth to make the story hum. It's also affected by world events: If there's a major terrorism outbreak, your story about launching a new gizmo may get buried—or not told at all.
In the age search engines, PR has also had to adjust its perspective: Not only earned media but also owned media (the content you create and publish) matters now, including social media.
To help you navigate this new world of PR, here's a road map to understanding its contours and features—along with tips on how to get some of that PR yourself.
Public relations is NOT advertising and journalists are NOT stenographers
A reporter is not going to jump at the chance to write about your company, nor do so in exacting detail. A reporter needs news, not a puff piece.
Instead: Show, don't tell. Let's say you're a leadership consultancy. Can you comment on leadership changes in the news? Discuss a major company's new hiring practices? Focus on demonstrating your expertise, not just shouting about it from the rafters.
PR people are NOT in cahoots with journalists