What exactly is publicity and PR? There is one question I get asked over and over again – by designers, entrepreneurs, business owners, friends and family.

What do you actually do, Rach?

So I want to use today’s blog post to give a big old explanation of what I get up to on a day to day basis. I’ll explain what keeps me awake at night, what I get so involved with and what I’ve spent the last two decades doing for my clients.

I’m also going to explain why I do this for a living – what the benefits and high points of PR are, plus what can go wrong and how to avoid the pitfalls.

So first things first, what is PR?

PR – or Public Relations, is all about reputation. It’s about building trust and credibility in your brand. This can be done by generating publicity in the media and online, it might be getting featured on your favourite TV, radio show or podcast, or it might be getting an amazing speaker opportunity at an industry event or being featured as an expert at an industry round table.

Really it’s about building third party endorsement, recommendations about you from other influencers such as journalists, bloggers and industry commentators.

PR is editorial content, earned (not bought) space in media titles, it’s third party endorsement for your brand – it’s someone else telling their friends / readers / viewers / listeners how good you are.

So how does PR differ from advertising?

Advertising is branded, paid for space, it’s you telling everyone how good you are.

What are the benefits of doing PR and publicity?

PR gets you talked about. It gets you noticed. It brings you the holy grail of marketing – third party endorsement. This is all about other people saying how great you, your brand, product or service is.

Getting PR builds trust and credibility. It introduces and builds your brand with new and bigger audiences, harnessing the power and following of other media outlets.

Online, PR on ‘high authority’ sites helps with your SEO and your brand’s visibility. Google search wants to know you get talked about in good authority places such as online media sites (e.g. BBC, The Times, Washington Post or Grazia) – if your brand is indexed on these types of sites, and on high authority blogs, you’ll likely be placed higher up on Google Search rankings. Bonus.

Getting great PR means you get recommendations from trusted influencers such as bloggers, vloggers, journalists and podcasters.

But don’t just take my word for it, there are many other advocates of my favourite day job:

According to a study of 12,000 readers by the LA Times, ‘Editorial content is on average, x5 more valuable than advertising in terms of awareness, recall and impact on people’s attitudes’.

Sir Richard Branson said: ‘Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.’

And none other than Mr Bill Gates also said: ‘If I were down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on PR’.

On a day to day basis, my work sees me creating blog posts, tweets, facebook and Instagram posts and media pitches, presentations, researching statistics, working with designers, photographers and filmmakers. I also liaise with influencers – from journalists on national newspapers, to trade publications, TV and radio producers, bloggers, YouTubers and podcasters.

It’s a varied job – one minute I can be talking real estate market reports, the next I can be advising retail clients how to generate publicity for their in store events. I also advise many entrepreneurs on awards entries, photography and e-newsletter campaigns.

What keeps me awake at night?

Luckily not too much. Though as there are no guarantees with PR, I’ve spent many night wondering how a journalist is going to use a story. They have editorial licence and good ones never use your smartly crafted pitch word for word. So I’m always looking at potential angles and trying to avoid anything that could be construed as negative. I tell clients that I’m paid to be paranoid!

Most of the time it all works out well and we get great coverage, building brand awareness and generating more sales for clients.

I’ve worked with hundreds of clients over the years – from multinational organisations to solopreneurs. I love the variety of consulting for them and learning about new industries. I also love the buzz of creating stories that generate media coverage around their products and services.

So there we have it, do you have any burning questions about PR? I’d love to know! Please comment below and join in the conversation.