Public Relations vs Media Relations: What is the Difference?

Public Relations vs Media Relations: What is the Difference?

29 Nov 2021

Building trust and relationship with the public are quite essential if you want to run a successful business. Better known as public affairs or public relations, it is the process of connecting with people at large through various means of communication be it online or offline. Its purpose being distribution of information, shaping public opinion, and ultimately gaining publicity for your brand and business.

News media naturally plays an integral role in managing your public affairs due to its wider media coverage. In fact, media, both traditional and digital, is the key to creating a positive image of your brand in the market. It’s the main channel for if you want to get your word out in a favourable manner. And hence the term- media relation!

Now being at the core of public relations, media relations is often used as an interchangeable term to describe the former. But which isn’t entirely true! Media relations, although an integral part of public affairs, is just one way of addressing your audience. Whereas, public relations is the umbrella term for all the ways you could use to send a message and inform the masses.

We shall talk more about the major differences between public relations and media relations, but first let’s take a closer look at both the concepts separately.

What is Public Relation?

Public relations, or public affairs is the process of interacting with the public via different modes of communication in order to create or affect your public image. It is usually maintained by releasing newsworthy information on topic of public interest and current trends that benefits both the company and the consumers.

Some of the common examples of public relations include investor relations, customer relations, media relations, and community relations.

What is Public relation

What is Media Relation?

Media relation on the other hand is mainly to do with interacting with people from the media or the press. This includes connecting with editors, reporters, and journalists from all kinds of platforms such as radio, television, newswires, and social media. One of the most common and popular ways of doing that is by releasing a press release to various news media channels.

What is Media relations

Media relation is undoubtedly the most effective and far-reaching aspect of public relations due to its wider reach. Its goal being able to convey your message or story in an appropriate and intriguing fashion to a larger audience base at once.

So public relation is when you want to address or inform the people as a whole, and media relation is when you specifically connect with news media so as to get an even wider coverage on what you have to say.

On that note, let’s go through the key differences between media and public relations without any further ado.

Media Relation vs Public Relation:

Public Relation (PR)  Media Relation (MR)
1. Public relation uses multiple channels to give you the public exposure. 1. Media relation is just one of them.
2. PR is the rectangle: All public relations are not necessarily media relations. There are other types of public relations such as investor relations, government relations, community relations, customer relations, and media relations. 2. MR is the square: All media relations are public relations. It is just a subset of PR.
3. Public relation shapes the message.  3. Media relation spreads the message.
4. Public relations achieves success in many ways.  4. Media relation is one of its achievements.


As you can see, public relation is a vast process of building trust and loyalty between brand, and consumers. Whereas media relation is just one of the ways of accomplishing that. Nonetheless, media relation is one of the most efficient marketing communications technique that you could use for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look:

Benefits of Media Relations:

Press or media has always been a powerful tool when it comes to effective communication and for all the good reasons:

1. Better media coverage:

In this age of information when half of all the internet is occupied by fake news, independent journalism, pop-culture, and conspiracies, it’s always useful to have your story or message published in a legit way by an authentic news agency. Plus, you’d get a wider coverage with it than any other means of communication.

2. Increased brand awareness:

Media relations are also quite efficient when it comes to increasing your brand’s awareness in the global market. You can use them to convey information about your company, its values and practices, upcoming products and launches, special events, community service, or anything that is newsworthy or of public interest.

What’s more is that most media outlets can look for multiple places to publish or broadcast your story starting from newspapers, newswires, websites, blogs, podcasts, television stations, radio shows, and so on. A variety of these different modes further help increase your brand awareness while addressing your actual targeted audience.

3. More credibility:

Getting your message delivered to the public by a trusted media outlet can also put a lot of substance into your story. Besides, most consumers tend to stay loyal to companies they trust. The same goes for media outlets. Any news agency that has established this trust is most likely to win the loyalty of its consumers for your brand or business, which is a win-win for all!

4. Strong media relations:

By being in touch with media personnels on constant basis, you can build your own network of trustworthy media partners who when the time comes can help you with valuable insights into current trends and topics. And if your stories are captivating enough, they might as well approach you as a source rather than going to your competitors.

5. Crisis management:

Crisis management is yet another critical aspect of public affairs that has to be dealt with carefully. Hiding a crisis from the public, or the investors is never a good idea! And that’s where media relations come into picture as a humble way of informing the public about what went wrong, what kind of crisis is it, and how long or what measures you’re going to take to control it in timely manner.

So media relations, as you can see, is not only limited to reaching out to more public, but goes far deeper in shaping the over-all publicity of your brand which is the ultimate goal of media relations in public relations as a whole.

Benefits of Public Relations:

To be able to create and maintain a favourable public image for your brand is quite an achievement in itself. But an effective public relations campaign is much more than that. If done right, it could accomplish a lot more than just publicity, starting from meeting your business goals to getting out your messages right.

Here are some of its key benefits:

1. Credibility:

Since public relation is more to do with providing newsworthy content than direct marketing, it naturally boosts the over-all credibility of your brand in the public as a customer-friendly business than money-oriented. Moreover, modern consumers are too smart and cautious about where to spend their money, and eventually tend to show more confidence to companies that manage their public affairs through credible sources.

2. Target Market:

Attracting and retaining a target market is of great importance if you want to succeed in your business. A well-placed PR campaign can do just that by placing your products, services, and information in various places pertaining to those target markets.

3. Brand Image:

Brand Image is always at the core of public relations. Contrary to marketing which is mainly to do with selling a product or service, public affairs is a delicate business of creating and maintaining a positive and long-lasting image of your brand in the market. A positive perception of your brand would further help you gain trust, loyalty, and confidence from your existing customers and well as new prospects.

4. Short and Long-term goals:

Public relations can be used to meet both your short-term as well as long-term goals. Whether it’s about increasing the visibility of your brand, or offering valuable insights about your business practices, whether it’s about building strong relationship with the community, or giving more value to your clients, public relations is always at the forefront of any business strategy.

5. More value for customers:

PR can also help you offer more value to your customers in many ways. For instance, personalized e-mails about upcoming offers and order placement, assistance with sales process, post-sale customer care and so on.

All-in-all, public relations is a broader concept that uses various means of communication at its disposal to help you create and maintain a positive outlook of your company. Media being the primary tool to convey and transmit the information of public interest which in turns helps the company. So it’s more like establishing a mutually beneficial relation between a company and the pubic. Let’s take a quick look before we end this topic.

How do Public relations and Media relations work together?

As it must be evident by now, media relation is a part of public relations which revolves around making a brand famous and popular by means of press or the media. Although public relations aim at the same goal i.e. publicity, it may use other means of communication along with media, such as online communities, company’s website, and so on to spread the message.

So whether or not to use the media for managing your public affairs depends totally on your business objectives and the type of informationpublic relations vs media relations you want to release. Once you have specific goals in your mind, you can start considering the type of public or media relations strategy that’s more likely to succeed.

Hope this article would help you draw a fine line between public and media relations without mixing the two.

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