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Media Relations vs Public Relations: Here's What to Know
April 26th, 2023
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You likely know that PR is important for growing and established brands alike, but another related term you may know less about is “media relations.” What’s the difference between PR and media relations? Can you work with the same people for both strategies or do you need to invest in separate specialists? Understanding these two approaches, how they’re similar and different, and the role they serve in your overall marketing, promotion, and communications strategies is critical.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is PR?

Public relations (or PR) is a form of strategic communications that helps brands build connections, boost reputation, and establish credibility with various audiences. A PR team is in charge of overseeing and shepherding a brand’s messaging and perception among the public, as well as investors, customers, and other groups.

PR pros have a lot of tools at their disposal, including press releases, media kits, social media channels, internal and external communications, content, and more. They can also be in charge of events, partnerships, crisis management, speechwriting, and the like.

What is media relations?

Media relations is, perhaps unsurprisingly, related to PR. Media relations is a form of public relations that focuses on building and preserving relationships with the press. Media relations outreach is geared towards securing earned media coverage, meaning the organization, brand, or individual is not paying for that (hopefully positive) press. 

Media relations encompasses things like pitching media, giving press conferences, setting up interviews and desksides, organizing and executing press trips and other events, crafting news releases, monitoring press for coverage, and more.

What are some of the differences between PR and media relations?

PR and media relations obviously have a lot in common, and they overlap on some key points. That being said, there are also many differences between the two approaches as well. The most obvious difference is that media relations is focused specifically on speaking to and connecting with media, while PR serves a broader focus. PR strategies may be targeted towards customers, investors, and other stakeholders, rather than zeroing in on just one group.

Additionally, while PR utilizes events, installations, and a variety of other strategies to get the word out, media relations focuses more specifically on pitching, interviews, and media events to build relationships and land coverage.

Finally, while media relations success is often evaluated based on press coverage, PR efforts are broader and a bit more vague. How is the brand perceived overall? What do customers, investors, and partners think? How many people know about the brand? These kinds of questions can help you determine how successful your PR strategy is and where you may need to re-evaluate.

Though it’s important for you to understand the differences between PR and media relations, your full communications strategy should include both. Often, PR pros also do media relations work, so you don’t necessarily need to build out a completely different team to handle media communications. These strategies work together and have similar overall goals—positive press coverage from media relations work does some of the effort to boost your overall brand awareness and reputation—the goal with PR. Not only that, but you’ll generally want or need to use media relations to garner attention for your PR campaigns.

Press Hook can be an important partner as both a media relations agency and in PR work. To learn more about how Press Hook can level up your media relations game and support your PR efforts, book a call with our team here.