When people hear about Lakeland public relations, they think it’s about advertising and promoting products and services. While that is true, promotion being one of the primary functions of a good PR, advertising is a paid form of persuading clients to promote an idea or purchase a product. Public relations, on the other hand, uses very specific and tested communication methods to try and convince people that they need to purchase an item or they need to support a campaign. Generally, it is much more effective than mere advertising. Not to mention, PR is also way cheaper than paying for a space on newspaper or magazine or for airtime in radio or television.

What advertising agencies and firms do is to pay journalists, to look for ad spaces in billboards, newspapers, magazines, and radio and TV stations. They produce jingles used for commercials and they hire actors to promote a company. They are the ones you see handling out free samples or flyers in malls and grocery stores. They are the ones who produce coupons as a way to promote an upcoming sale.

Unlike advertisers, public relations aim to persuade its external or internal audiences through earned and unpaid sources. Whether it’s social media, traditional media, a combination of both, or speaking engagements, public relations firms communicate to their audience through tried and tested and unpaid methods.

Public relations is a persuasion business, which means PR firms must convince an audience inside and outside its usual sphere of influence to subscribe to an idea, purchase a product, support a position, and recognize your accomplishments. It is a strategic communication process that builds “mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

This is where PR and advertising part ways: When a celebrity goes through a bad publicity, advertising firms would think of gimmicks like commercials and billboards to address the situation. A PR firm, on the other hand, would organize an interview with a respected journalist or would write a speech addressing the issue. They will generate a positive publicity for the celebrity in order to convince and persuade the public to change its perception about him/her.

Other methods being used by PR firms are writing and distributing press releases, speech writing, writing pitches and sending them to journalists, creating and executing special events, conducting market research, expanding business contacts and network, writing and blogging for the web, handling crisis public relations, promoting on social media.