“If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying 'Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday,' that’s advertising/marketing.
If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that's promotion.
If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity.
And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations."
-- Reader's Digest, “Promoting Issues and Ideas” by M. Booth and Associates, Inc.
We live in a culture that craves attention. Social media has made a whole lot of people who know practically nothing, suddenly regard themselves as experts. And shows like "The X Factor" and "America's Got Talent" offer anyone with any sort of entertainment value the opportunity to become famous. But what good is fame if you have no end goal in mind? What good is a platform on which to speak if you have nothing to say?
I decided long ago that I wasn't interested in just getting my clients media attention. Anyone with a list, a phone, and a little gumption can do that. What I wanted our little company to do was build solid, long-lasting careers, or more specifically for faith-based clients, ministries. In today's media-saturated world, press comes and goes instantaneously. We used to refer to a "window" when we released information during a news cycle. But today, news cycles are measured in minutes and hours instead of days or weeks which means that window is now a teeny-tiny hole in the door.
So the need for understanding the difference between public relations and publicity is crucial to anyone who has long-term goals. Gaining media attention is great, but extremely short-lived. Building a name, a brand, a mission, a goal, or a relationship with an audience takes much more than a magazine article or a viral Tweet. It takes time, effort, patience, and above all, a laser-like focus on a predetermined and purposeful goal.
God says in Isaiah 46:10 that He had the end in mind in the beginning. Billions of followers and the best-selling book of all time were the results.
Not a bad public relations strategy if you think about it.
-- Gina Adams