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George Ellis
Junior account executive at
George Ellis

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In today’s edition of FAQ’s at we are going to try to answer the most fundamental of questions about our industry – what is PR anyway?

You can’t succeed in business if no one knows you are out there trading. You need to market your goods and services to the public and hopefully pick up some clients and customers.

PR is all about how the public relates to your business – and how you relate to the public. It can be everything from how you answer the telephones to your presence on social media. Mostly though it will be about seeking non advertising opportunities to make more people aware that your business exists.

As your business grows you’re likely to explore a number of different marketing avenues to find the balance for promoting your business that best suits you.

But you might find that whilst you understand that the clear-cut nature of what an advertising or marketing agency does, that PR can have a slightly looser definition to what it actually entails.

PR is an industry that covers a number of different facets of promoting a business, all with the aim of achieving maximum brand awareness for a client.

Some agencies will focus on events such as bar and restaurant openings, while others, such as Notts PR, have a much more online focus.

When choosing an agency you should make sure you select a team with experience in your sector. If you are trading online and want to attract customers across the UK and beyond, it will make little sense to choose a PR agency who focus on local bars and restaurant openings. You will be much better off if you opt to work with a team with experience of delivering mass market media coverage for online brands.

PR at its core utilises the media to reach a huge audience for a client. It involves portraying a business’ brand in both print and digital media by making sure that that it owns the space of its chosen demographic rather than directly selling them a product.

How does PR differ from advertising?

It can be easy for business owners new to the world of PR or advertising to get their wires crossed when it comes to distinguishing what they both do. In simple terms advertising is paid for content whereas PR is all about being featured in the media without having to pay any advertising fees.

As it’s not paid for, PR content has to earn it’s place in a media outlet such as a website or magazine, by offering a real story to a journalist. Therefore it will usually be less sales focused than an advertisement and instead offer something of genuine interest to the public – perhaps an unusual new product or some other aspect of a business operation.

To win PR content you will have to be creative and not just expect the media to run a free advert for your business (the mistake many business owners fall into). The good news is there are thousands of journalists crying out for great stories every day. Make your story strong enough and you will get your brand in front of millions of potential new customers.


Notts PR is a PR agency in Nottingham.