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Understanding PR and Its Value- A Misunderstood Marketing Tool

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It seems hard to believe but many senior executives don’t truly understand public relations, its value and how it helps a company.

I blame this on the PR industry itself. As communicators, we should focus more on educating businesses about what we do and how it can generate awareness for your business, change issues within your industry, and build profile for your projects and services. This doesn’t include the vital support it provides when reputation issues arise.

Sometimes companies have had a bad experience with a PR agency or consultant and that’s unfortunate. It taints a valuable marketing tactic.

There are also myths to debunk. We don’t create ads and no, not all media will take your comments out of context and write negative stories. In BC, media are often the kindest and most balanced in Canada. After twenty years of working with Canadian media, I trust BC media.

Public relations doesn’t make you “go viral”. There is no such thing as this is organic, and happens with exceptional content and perfect timing. PR is also not just for project/service launches as this creates small benefits but not consistent and strong long-term benefits for a company.

Good PR professionals work incredibly hard, especially in 2022, with shrinking newsrooms, busy, overworked media, and digital strategies often being key components of a plan. Considering BC’s diversity is also a must. We don’t all speak English and have the same cultures and values.

Here is how PR pros hustle for you and add incredible value.


Experienced and hard-working PR pros have good relationships with media, bloggers, and influencers and this often means that these contacts will open, read, and consider their pitches. Authentic relationships take time to build and it’s hard to put a dollar value on that.

Understanding News, Media Needs, and what’s Appropriate

When you are inside a company culture, it’s easy to see your work as exciting and newsworthy. It may be or it may need an outside PR expert to determine what your strong PR angles are. Working with media and digital personalities daily, and devouring news non-stop, we usually know what makes a news angle.

We also know how to present that news to the media and what they need vs. what will annoy and alienate them. For example, unless you are paying for sponsored content, you cannot see the article before it’s published. Also, media need you to be available if you are pitched for an interview. They don’t choose last-minute deadlines, but the 24/7 news cycle sometimes requires them.

If you are pitching an opinion piece, it can only be pitched to one outlet at a time. Media want unique content. Also, opinion pieces are earned news vs. paid, and therefore a promotional opinion piece won’t see the light of day and an editor will think twice before considering your opinion piece pitch moving forward.

Knowing how to work with Influencers

Influencers in BC are mostly creative and hard-working enthusiasts. Yes, the odd one is over-priced and inflates follower numbers but it’s your PR pro’s job to connect you with the good ones, and there are many in BC. There are influencers who focus on lifestyle, family, food, sustainability, and even personal finance.

The way you approach influencers is different from media. It often requires a personalized experience or maybe an interactive component. Sometimes a paid partnership is more appropriate. It’s important to understand an influencer’s reach and community makeup to decide the best fit. Many influencers have a large online community who respect and trust them so if it’s a fit for both sides, it creates value.

Building Strategies that help you to Generate Profile that can Create Change and Manage Issues Related to Reputation

As an independent PR professional and small business owner, I work long days, and this is because there are many components to a PR strategy and executing them takes time and attention to detail.

Creating and executing a PR strategy means staying up to date on the news throughout the day, identifying opportunities, gathering expertise and updates from clients, writing and making edits to material, pitching stories and relations with media, bloggers, and influencers, and making sure you are making the appropriate efforts to meet client goals.

It can also include intensive work on supporting a client with an issue that could harm their reputation such as a customer who is unhappy, or an incident within the workplace that needs attention and authentic care.

Budget for PR means allocating funds to your brand-building, protecting your brand, generating awareness for issues, products and services, engaging with key stakeholders…. the list is endless.

I am clearly biased, but I believe that PR is one of the most important parts of a business’s marketing strategy. It must be done right and by the professional best suited to your business.

Also remember that Public Relations is relating to your public and is a dialogue, not simply a presentation of your message and story. If your PR support teaches you this and ensures that you are engaging and listening too, that’s a good sign.

For any questions or comments on PR, please connect with me via my social media @rthexton or email at

I will post more on clarifying PR work, tips, and whatever others want to learn more about. Let’s build awareness about what PR is and what it achieves for a business or organization.