Interview: What is PR and How To Do It Correctly


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Below you’ll find an interview about PR I did with Murray Newlands, who is one of the most influential marketers and PR strategists online.

What is PR exactly, for those who confuse it with marketing and other terms?
PR is public relations. When we talk about PR we normally mean getting the press to write about you. It can mean other things, too, such as investor relations or relations with special interest groups; these are also public groups your company wants to build relations with. It is not advertising, pay per click, or buying sponsored stories. Normally PR is earned media not paid media.

Who should do PR campaigns?
Bloggers should do PR to promote their blogs and get a larger audience. If you publish a blog and want readers getting other media /bloggers to write about you it helps to grow your audience, if you have a company and you want customers. If you have a startup, one measure investor’s look at when evaluating the company is how well you are communicating your company and getting press is one sign of that. If you are an individual with a job in a company, get press about the skills that you have and why people should hire you, as it can help you get a better job or more customers.

How has PR changed over the past years?
It used to be that there were a very small number of printed publications and then came the internet. There are now more publications than ever with more starting every day. The numbers of publications it is possible to reach is now massive. This is good because there are different opportunities, but it also makes it baffling to those getting started.

Is it as important as it was 10 or 20 years ago?
Reputations mean more than they ever did. People are increasingly skeptical about advertising and read reviews before they make purchase decisions. As a consumer when you are going to purchase something you will do a Google search about the company or product first and see what other people are saying about it. Positive PR will yield positive results for those customers searching for information who are thinking about buying your products. Great PR will lead people to your site in the first place.

What are the common mistakes people do in the PR campaigns?
People become very “I” centered about their PR. People get caught up in the launch of their new site, their new app, and their new release. No one cares about your new app launch unless you are Facebook. You need to think about what problems people have and how they can be solved and what part your company has to play in that. Bloggers and journalists want to inform their readers and tell them great stories.

What are some winning PR strategies and tactics? What are the best PR strategies and tactics one can use?
In the book David Spark (@dspark), Founder, says:

“It’s all about relationships. If you spent your first year doing nothing but building relationships through attending networking events, listening, following up, having lunches, reading and consuming other people’s work, you would have accomplished a task that many PR professionals don’t accomplish in their entire career. Have a system, ideally a CRM (customer relationship management) tool, to manage this flood of relations and maintain copious notes on how you met and what you heard. In a very short time it’ll be the most valuable tool in your PR arsenal.”

Do you have an example to share of a well-executed PR campaign?
Think about Virgin America, they sell flights but they make it a great experience. They make the customer experience as nice as possible and people love them for it and they get great PR. Great PR comes from a great product first. Uber raised awareness of the taxi strikes against them in London to an 800% growth in users in a week, as Londoners wanted choice in transportation. Aaron Schwartz founder of writes a handwritten note in every watch, turning customers into rabid fans.

Murray Newlands is the author of How to get PR for your Startup: Traction. He started a blog and got a visa as an alien of extraordinary ability by getting PR about himself and now he does it for other people and companies.

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6 Responses to “Interview: What is PR and How To Do It Correctly”

  • faisal

    PR isn’t as relevant for blogs, no?

  • Josh

    Some interesting and fresh ideas about tackling PR. I really liked your examples of PR as they all operated in very different markets but used similar principles.

    Will be “trying a little tenderness” with some of my customers. As you said, it’s all about creating a great customer experience.

  • Handyman London

    In Google Search Engine Pr Means Page Rank….And its have verity of 1-10 ….1 is lower position and 10 pr is high position….

  • Akaahan Terungwa

    Hi Dan,

    PR is one term that has been abused – severally. Sincerely, this interview with Murray opened up a new way of looking at the term for me. A quick question for Murray though:

    If PR is a way of getting an audience to have a perceived notion of you, does it really matter if it is bought and paid for?

    Make the day very great!


  • Gino Orlandi

    PR is going to be the new face of search engine optimization. Social signals are becoming very important.

  • Kostas Chiotis

    Interesting post Daniel, I think the point I found most interesting was how people focus on ‘I’ when working on PR. I think there is a balance, we need to put our personality into everything, but we still need to solve our consumers problems.

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