Advertising and the Public Relations Component – Good Book to Read

It is my contention that every small business owner ought to have books on advertising, marketing, public relations, and promotion. After all, if you don’t advertise how can you expect your future customers to know about the services and products which you provide? If you don’t invite them to come in and shop, or explain to them the value of those things which you provide, it’s doubtful they will ever show up with their money to make purchases.

Perhaps, it is for this reason that over the years I’ve collected and unbelievably huge library of nonfiction business books. Recently, I’ve been trying to go through all these books, and get rid of the ones I did not want. However, I still have stacks of books that I cannot afford to give away, because they’re just too important. When it comes to advertising and public relations there is a very good book which I’d like you to read. The name of the book is;

“Advertising and Public Relations,” by Toni Apgar

Although this book is over two decades old now, it’s probably one of the best books of its kind, and it doesn’t have all the hype that the newer business books have. It is my contention that this book should be used in colleges to teach the fundamental principles of advertising. The Public Relations component of this book is extremely interesting, and it ties in the interrelated workings of advertising.

Far too many business owners just do not understand how to create and prepare ads, and they rely on graphic designers, who often do a lot of experimenting on their dime, and other professionals such as sales people, which do not always understand exactly what they are selling. If you, as a small business owner have an intimate knowledge and working experience in advertising you will consistently get more bang for your buck. Perhaps, that’s why I recommend that you own this book in your business library as well.

Public Relations (PR) Methods of the Past, Present and Onwards

Changes in most cases have always been good. This is even more evident in the new age of communication, particularly as it pertains to Public Relations and Marketing. Public Relations (PR), as the name may suggest, are methods used by organizations, groups, government bodies, and individuals to communicate and relay their purposes and goals to their stakeholders and the wider society. In times gone by, this was done primarily through the issuing of Press and News Releases; media kits being sent to press; holding press conferences; printing brochures, newsletters and annual reports; or simply corresponding directly with the mass media. Today, while still implementing the use of traditional media (radio and television broadcast, newspapers, magazines) to some extent, corporations have also begun to place a more in-depth focus on those within the “online world”. With the emergence of Social Media/Network Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Blogs (video and written), or Podcasting, organization are seemingly becoming more reliant on these methods in order to remain relevant and competitive within the global market.

Offline PR vs Online PR

The modern age of communication has placed a new spin on the modes and means of Public Relations and Marketing. Press Releases, media or news releases, including video releases, that were once conducted by issuing copies of information about the respective organization to journalists via direct mailing, fax or e-mailing are now being replaced. Even the appearances of spokespersons before an audience of information-hungry media personnels are slowly but surely being made redundant. Realizing the shift of “advertising opportunity” focus, organizations are now finding it fundamentally important to develop content-rich websites and create Social Media/Network (SM) accounts with the hopes of reaching both their targeted as well as wider audiences in a more direct and interactive manner. With an estimated 2 billion Internet user worldwide (Internet World Stats), companies are now opting to issue Press Releases online via websites such as, Express Press Release Distribution, Press Release Point, PRWeb among many others. Such websites even provide you with templates and formats on how this is to be properly and effectively done.

As any informed Internet Marketer would confess, blogging has now become the most essential way to share ideas about specific concepts and engage the readers in meaningful discussions online. Media platforms such as Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr have easily facilitated this method. Similar to this, are the presence of topic forums on websites. Social Networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook (created by Mark Zuckerberg and his computer programming colleagues within the dorm rooms at Harvard, it now boasts over 750 million active users), and Podcast, have become essential tools to further enhance the capacities to broadcast and correspond with persons on a one on one basis while still reaching out on a much greater scale. News platforms such as LiveJournal, Digg, Reddit and a plethora of even more targeted ones such as, are vast, user-friendly networks that will allow organizations to instantly relay information of public interest to the world. YouTube by the way, has boasted the indomitable ability to give everyone an equal opportunity to become a self-made “movie star” overnight, since 2005. Each day millions of tweets are shared, videos are created, words are written, posted and viewed by millions around the world. Even the creation of high-powered personalized websites using Content Management Systems (Joomla, Drupal, WordPress), are as easy as 1-2-3. Well maybe not that easy but…

Resulting from the emergence of Social Network/Media platforms, the roles and functions of many PR professionals and Marketers may have begun to adapt and transform into new forms of professions. Truth be told, PR disciplines such as Financial Public Relations; Industry Relations; Crisis Public Relations; Advertiser and Marketers are all still relevant to individual organizations. However, with downward trends in traditional forms of broadcasting and media, emphasis is being placed on methods of how to successfully survive among billions in the online world. Companies are either outsourcing their PR and Marketing portfolios to agents who specialize in Internet Marketing and Social Media Management or are facilitating access to training in the dynamics of effective online strategies to their employees. Owing, of course, to the realization that content is key, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is just one of various techniques that are being taught as a means for staying afloat in these “torrential Internet waters”, and the success of any Internet campaign and marketing strategy relies heavily on mastering this.

Where do we go from here?

Change is constant and much so for the better. Therefore, while organizations may find usefulness in older forms of PR and Marketing strategies, they are now realizing that their survival and competitiveness now lie in the hands of mastering the ways of the online world. Globalization dictates this to be so. In any case, various user friendly platforms and techniques are readily available to individuals and organizations alike, to enhance any online networking strategy and in publicizing their “goodwill” on a vast, equal and open Internet playing field.

Public Relations Defined

The definition of public relations frequently depends upon who is using the term. For agencies and practitioners, it is a respected profession and management function. For its detractors, PR is a means for applying a gloss or otherwise polishing something that is otherwise objectionable.

PR is frequently interchanged incorrectly with terms such as “spin” and “publicity.” And the recently popular term “marketing public relations” adds to the confusion.

Here are three widely accepted definitions

o From the textbook Effective Public Relations authored by Scott Cutlip, Allen Center and Glen Broom: Public relations is the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whom its success or failure depends.

o From PR News: Public relations is the management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or an organization with the public interest, and then plans and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.

o From the PR Society of America (PRSA): PR helps an organization and its publics to adapt mutually to each other. The term “publics” recognizes the need to understand the attitudes and values of and to develop effective relationships with many different stakeholders such as employees, members, customers, local communities, shareholders other institutions and society at large

The common factor in these definitions is the two-way nature of the relationship. PR calls for equal amounts of listening as well as talking.

Furthermore, as a management function it includes:

o Anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, attitudes and issues that might impact an organization’s operations and plans positively or negatively.

o Counseling management regarding policy decisions, courses of action and communications with an eye toward public ramifications and the organization’s social or citizenship responsibilities.

o Continually researching, conducting and evaluating programs designed to achieve the public’s informed understanding of an organization’s aims.

o Planning and implementing an organization’s efforts to influence public policy. Specifically: establishing objectives, budgeting, recruiting and training staff and developing facilities — essentially the management of all resources necessary to achieve an organizations PR objectives.

The primary quality of PR is that it is based on a reciprocal relationship — a two-way street — between an organization and its many publics.

If you are not talking and listening to your publics and responding accordingly to the benefit of both, you are not practicing public relations.