People who work in media relations and those who work in public relations share similar skills, goals, and roles

Media Relations Vs Public Relations: What Are The Differences?

People who work in media relations and those who work in public relations share similar skills, goals, and roles – but what exactly are the differences between the two? They sound pretty similar and the terms may be used interchangeably – but the two are actually pretty different at the core.

In 2022, the lines between the two are more blurred than ever – but we’re here to explain the core differences between media relations and public relations. Read on to learn more about PR and media relations, and the differences between them.


What Is Media Relations?

Media relations is essentially the relationship between a business and the media – for example, reports, editors, and journalists. This can also include people who create blogs, host radio shows, or people that work in the broadcast field.

With citizen journalism on the rise, media relations experts may find it more difficult to know how to get the message across. Citizen journalism is where everyday individuals act as journalists, whether it be using blogs or social media to report on current events.

Media relations focuses on communicating a message or story via the right media outlets. Media relations is about building relationships with those in the media industry  – whether it be with content writers, editors, journalists, or bloggers.

Excellent communication skills are required when dealing with the media. The key skill of media relations is to communicate the message of the business clearly, at the same time as making it relevant and interesting and crucially – newsworthy – to the media. 

Utilising the media is an effective method of reaching the public. Some businesses will hire a whole team to deal with public relations and media relations, whereas other businesses may just hire a single individual – depending on how much information needs to be put across and controlled. This can be on both an internal basis or with an external PR agency.

In the media relations industry, communication skills aren’t the only important asset – in 2022, it’s also necessary to be skilled in social media and analytics. These days, stories often break on social media first, so a media relations expert will likely need to monitor what is currently trending, or implement social media as part of a campaign.


What Is Public Relations?

Public relations, known as PR, refers to the relationship between a business, individual, or organisation, with the public. This can refer to the general public or a more researched and tailored audience – for example, a certain age demographic, charities, a certain industry, employees, customers, etc. In terms of public relations, the ‘public’ can refer to both customers and potential customers or prospects.

If you are a business and you want to either build your brand’s reputation with the public or repair / improve it, then public relations is the way forward. It considers the bigger picture of how your brand is perceived by the public and involves plenty of research.

PR isn’t just about influencing the public, but it’s about understanding them. All good businesses have an understanding of their customers – for example, their needs, wants and buying patterns.

Before we embark on a PR campaign for our clients, we help them to do this in our one day Storybuilding Workshop.

Public relations shares similar characteristics with a variety of different specialities – for example, marketing, advertising, communications, and media relations. However, despite sharing a few similarities, public relations is a broader discipline, with its own processes and goals. Read on to learn more about the core differences between public relations and media relations.


Media Relations vs Public Relations

Now that you understand exactly what media relations entails and what public relations (PR) involves, it’s time to gain a further understanding of the differences between the two. The two fields share many similarities, but here are three of the main differences between public relations and media relations.


The Channels Used

First of all, PR aims at building and improving relationships between businesses and clients / potential clients. This can be achieved by using a wide variety of channels – for example, awards ceremonies, company blogs, and social media. However, media relations can get a message across by using the press. Some channels used in media relations include news reports, radio shows, podcasts, and blog posts.

Media relations can add authority to your message as it’s coming from a third party – for example, a news agency or an online blogger. They are essentially validating your message – your message will certainly have more resonance and a much broader reach coming from BBC News than it would be coming from your company’s social media accounts. This is the aim of PR, to build your reputation on other outlets that have a higher reputation than your own, to establish credibility.


The Message

PR works to first of all get to the root of the brand story. This will involve team meetings, such as our Storybuilding Workshop to work together to identify the brand message and story. A public relations expert will help a business discover what they want to say and to who, why they are unique and different. The PR agency will then sculpt the brand message and tell the story on different, relevant channels.

Media relations, on the other hand, focus on sharing the message through the media. In 2022, there are more media platforms than ever – from traditional media such as newspapers or news reports to digital media such as social media and online blogs. Quality media relations and public relations experts will use a combination of the two, and work with the brand to decide which platforms will work best.


The Results

PR and media relations may measure the campaign’s success in different ways. The goal of a public relations campaign may not always be to achieve media coverage – whereas this isn’t the case for media relations.

That being said, PR professionals will work with the media on a regular basis. Media relations is just one aspect of public relations, and the two can work together in harmony in any campaign.

Our dedicated PR team will work directly with you and your team to discover your brand story. We can combine marketing (e.g content marketing and digital marketing) with traditional PR to secure you coverage across a variety of media outlets.

If you’re looking to generate results and build your brand through public relations and media relations, contact our experts at Tuesday Media today.

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