Frequently Asked Questions

What is public relations?

Public relations is the management of communication between a business or an organization and its publics or audiences. The process should be developed and supervised professionally. It involves the art and social science of conducting market and mainstream research, analyzing trends, predicting consequences, counseling business or organizational leaders, conceptualizing program plans, and implementing campaigns dedicated to benefitting the business or organization and its public interest.

What is media relations?

Media relations is a professional activity that generates mutually beneficial associations between publicists or public relations practitioners and editors, reporters or journalists, with a strategic goal of reaching audiences with messages of news or features of interest (publicity). The function includes seeking publicity for a business or an organization and responding to queries and interview requests from members of the media on behalf of the business or organization. However, the process must also be carefully managed to provide vast resources, helpful information and applicable imagery to the media. Maintaining lists of media contacts, editorial calendars and a strong knowledge of media audience interests are essential to successful media relations.

What is the difference between reactive and proactive PR?

Reactive public relations entails addressing crises and issues defensively rather than initiating advanced creative programs and planning. Reactive public relations is too often addressed in an ad hok approach when problems for a business or an organization occur, allowing for little to no time for strategy. This is commonly seen when corporations or businesses fail to budget for and allocate efforts toward long-term public relations. Proactive public relations is taking initiative to develop and apply public relations plans consistently and as part of an ongoing effort to achieve measurable results toward set communication, sales and marketing objectives.

What do the terms “owned media,” “earned media,” and “paid media” mean?

Owned media includes self-published content about a business or an organization such as websites, blogs, social media channels, newsletters, white papers, etc. Earned media is achieved or secured editorial content regarding the news, activities, thought-leadership, capabilities, and case-studies of a business / organization that is published by editors, reporters, journalists, and other members of the media as well as industry or public influencers. Paid media is traditional advertising, whereas a business / organization pays a fee to a media outlet or other form of paid promotion to publish or communicate a usually short message or information. All have value, but earned media tends to provide the highest percentage of result.

What is advertising?

Advertising is paid communication to include taglines, brief catch phrases, graphics, and images or imagery depicting a desired message on the part of a business or and organization. This information is placed via a print, digital, outdoor, or other communication vehicle by a paying sponsor that pays for the time or space necessary to convey the message. Advertising is a controlled method of delivering messages and gaining media placement, but usually only notifies audiences of information, rather than sways them to it.

Which generates more sales leads, advertising or public relations?

According to the Public Relations Society of America, through public and media relations, 8 out of 10 people remember (and want to learn more about) the organizations, companies, brand names, people, products, and services about which they read in articles or hear or view on air and online. With advertising, 4 out of 10 people are influenced to learn more information about the entity that advertised information. A combination of both can offer tactical results.

What is a brand?

A brand is a product, service or concept that is publicly, or amid certain industries, distinguished from other products, services or concepts. A brand can become established with or without the involvement of the brand owner; thus, sound, constant brand management is a key factor in resulting with successful brands that are well received and perceived.

What is branding?

Branding is a professional service by marketing and public relations professionals that entails the process of creating and disseminating creative information about a business’s or an organization’s persona, identity and what makes it special or that which causes it to stand out of the crowd in its sector or space. A brand is thought of as the personality, and, ultimately, the reputation of a business / organization.

What is integrated marketing, and why is it important?

Integrated marketing, sometimes referred to as marketing communications, is a combination of activities designed to sell a product, service or idea. The activities are intended to maintain consistent brand messaging across traditional and nontraditional communication channels. Select channels include advertising, collateral materials, publicity, promotion, direct mail, trade shows, events, and other practices. Integrated marketing is most effective in that it helps reach publics and targets across the many networks and formats they use to find their information and reach purchasing and other decisions.

What is press agentry?

Press agentry involves creating newsworthy stories, articles, press releases, white papers, case-studies, and events to attract media attention and gain public or specific industry notice or attention. The idea should include a mutually beneficial exchange of content between the agent and members of the media.

Why should I work with a PR firm that specializes in my industry?

Besides the obvious reasons, a public relations firm that specializes in your industry has gained years of experience in the field, including connections with a wide network of media, sector and other important contacts from which your business can benefit. Trade media outlets come to trust PR firms that specialize in their industries, often considering the PR firm to be an industry analyst, resource and thought-leader. Mainstream media outlets turn to PR firms that specialize in select

What do professional PR services cost?

Commonly, PR firm annual retainers range from 4 to 10 K per month, depending upon predetermined factors like brands and branding, the business or organization type, a strategic model and strategy, key audiences and demographics, available photos, and an overall assessed situation analysis. While this range will seem surprising to some, the reality is the fact that public relations is more cost-effective than paid advertising, and the related branding and reputation results are higher and more productive. At ECPR, we generally provide services with a set monthly retainer fee based upon customized annual budgets and plans for our clients. We also provide occasional shorter-term project work for select clients between 8 and 15 K total.

Why should I retain a PR firm versus self-manage my PR?

The obvious reason to retain a PR firm is the fact you and your staff most likely do not have the time or media contacts to self-manage internal PR. Or, you may not have the ability to write Associated Press (AP) content, byline articles for the media, or speaker proposals. Many PR firms have well-established media relationships; the ability to write AP content for publication; and allocated staff members who are certified in the art and science of public and media relations. In addition, a typical PR firm retainer yields the support of an entire PR team for your business or organization, whereas the same or similar budget might only allow for the salary, benefits and liabilities of just one internal PR employee.

How soon can I expect to see PR results?

Public relations is a long-term marketing practice that produces valuable, long-term results. Though, when executed by a seasoned specialist, both short- and long-term results are possible. Early results can include positive published online and digital content regarding a business or an organization within weeks of strategic planning and writing, with print media placements and aired media content having a longer lead time. Speaking opportunities for upcoming seasons, quarters or even years can be secured almost immediately so they can be well planned in advance. Once a true and active PR program is in place and being implemented, results become the norm in a building effect much as with anything of great value.

Can ROI results be measured?

ROI can be measured grounded upon a baseline that stems from determining and continually assessing goals and objectives. ROI in PR can and should be both quantitative and qualitative. Eberly & Collard Public Relations is known for its customized public and media relations program assessment model for clients, including increased numbers of impressions or reach; assessment of ad dollar value equivalencies; determination of publicity values; and the valuation produced by augmented business relationships and new forms of networking for our clients. We also customize ROI reports for clients who need specialized data and reporting for company C-suites, leadership teams, investors, or others vital contacts.

Is social media appropriate for my business?

Most likely, yes! Businesses that accurately and strategically embraced social media at its onset have gained traction above and beyond those that have not yet unraveled an approach to this important form of communications. At ECPR, we define social media - in casual terms - as the ability to, and requirement of, engaging with targets through two-way, interactive digital platforms. Implementing social media is likened to a high-level opportunity of connecting with customers, clients, prospects, leads, industry contacts, business leaders, media members, and any other key contacts or groups who can positively affect business and sales for your company or brand. No longer do customers or clients reply on businesses to inform them what, when and how to make purchases. Neither do they count on businesses’ marketing messages alone for making important buying decisions or choosing service providers. Rather, they turn to social media to see for themselves what others are saying about the businesses or brands in which they have interest. They trust what other customers, clients, peers, or influencers think and say about businesses and brands. Successful social media calendars, channels, campaigns, forums, dialogs, and reviews are a collective form of digital marketing and content management that creates positive online reputations for companies and their products or services as well as boosts SEO, SEM and link-backs to the brands’ websites and sales portals.  

What is SEO and how does content management increase results?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an indispensable marketing initiative with ongoing activities and campaigns to increase businesses’ rankings in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), boosting website visibility and traffic. An active and well-played SEO strategy involves organic and earned content being placed onto external URLs to help the content source's website pages rank higher on Google (and other) search results pages. Businesses with dynamic content management that generates externally published digital articles, name mentions, insights, and quotes about their thought-leadership, products, services, etc. – along with link-backs and hotspots leading to their websites – build upon their online presence. The more SEO a business creates, the higher its website ranks in search results, producing more site visitors that can be converted into customers or clients. Ask our ECPR team how we combine SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing), which involves paid ad words and other forms of cost-effective search results growth, to evoke search engine ROI for our clients through digital marketing. 

Last but not least, why do I need PR?

Your business or organization forms its public relations on a daily basis, whether you participate or not. Your customers, clients, sales leads, industry association leaders, the media, and others constantly derive their opinions of your personnel, products, services, or organizational entity simply by the day-to-day activities and actions of your corporation, company or staff as well as how your products or services perform for others. Public perception is not always reality, meaning it is critical to manage public relations in a proactive and methodical manner at all times.