Public relations is a field of marketing that is frequently misunderstood. Often it is envisaged as svelte young ladies handing out gift packs at golf days and gala dinners. While event management is one element of public relations, it embodies far more. Basically it encompasses every form of promotion, of getting a brand name or message ‘out there’, whether for a specific campaign or product launch or to highlight the way that a client entity is perceived by the general public.

It can be summed up as:

The professional maintenance of a favourable and positive public image.

Public relations (PR) versus advertising

How does the practice of public relations differ from advertising? Public relations is the mirror image partner of advertising, in that with advertising, one pays to have a message placed in a newspaper, TV or radio spot. In public relations, the news is not paid for. The media person features the story as a result of information they have received from the public relations person.


Publicity is seen as more powerful – and cost-effective - than advertising. Costs are generally only for the public relations practitioner: no media space is bought (that would be advertising or advertorial).  Secondly, publicity has greater longevity than advertising and a 3:1 believability factor – people believe what they read in a story three times more than when they read about it in advertising. There is also the longevity factor: an article about a business/event etc will be remembered far longer than an advert.


PR is an excellent marketing tool because it ensures exposure that doesn’t have to be paid for directly. However, effective PR doesn’t happen without effort. Securing positive publicity requires careful planning, persistent effort, and experienced know-how.

Using a wordsmith

Words are tricky little devils and one needs to be very careful how one uses them to ensure that a message comes across as intended. 

There’s a huge amount of difference between its and it’s for example – and many people don’t know when to use one or the other. That’s why using a wordsmith – a professional who works with words – is vital. Here are some examples of marketing messages that just don’t come across quite right:

  • Don’t let stress kill you! Let us help.

  • Ears pierced while you wait.

  • Same Day Cleaners – 48 hour service.

  • We never allow a dissatisfied customer to leave our store….

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