Opinion: How PR helps build trust

The marketing mix was traditionally a melting pot of advertising, direct mail, PR, events, print and point of sale materials.

Then the internet happened.

It’s taking a surprising amount of UK businesses a while to catch up on the enormous opportunity that social media, online PR and content marketing offer.

We are all consumers of media and we inherently understand that there is a difference between PR and advertising.

The power of PR is to see a positive tweet/story/message from a friend or someone whose opinion you trust, personally recommending a brand, product or service.

We’re now seeing the lines between PR, which has always been about earning respect from an impartial third party, and paid for social activity, become blurred. On twitter for example, there are more promoted posts looking just like tweets from brands eager for us to subscribe to their messages in our feeds.

True PR is always earned from a third party, a journalist, opinion former, celebrity or friend, and advertising is space that’s been paid for directly from a brand. The online and social media world hasn’t changed that.

To gain momentum it’s best to have a mix of both earned and paid for media. However there’s nothing like a third party endorsement from someone you trust to change your buying decision.

Rachel Clark runs Wrapped PR, a consulting firm that integrates PR and content strategy with customer needs. Rachel helps companies offer truly great content, whether on the web, via social, blogs or in the press. She works at a strategic level to diagnose issues and identify opportunities, then shapes content to help deliver your brand messages. You can find her on Twitter @rachelmclarkpr

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