Types of public relations.

Matchbook’s partners often come to us for a number of needs such as branding, strategy, website development, social media and public relations. Most people think of public relations as an external-only service, but the reality is communications can come in several different forms. Let’s break down the difference between internal communications, external communications, crisis communications and the contrast between PR and marketing.

Internal Communications

Internal communications practices keep employees connected, engaged and informed, improve understanding of company goals, values, and guidelines. This can take many avenues, from e-newsletters to strategizing messaging to company surveying to social media. Truly, it encompasses anything that allows employees to get the important details they need to do their jobs effectively and allows employees to be heard. In today’s work culture, employees are looking for information, collaboration, opportunities and transparency. These items not only help your team drive professional success but helps everyone be connected and more engaged at work.

External Communications

Think of external communications as your traditional PR efforts, such as earning media coverage or social media messaging, sharing your story with the public and reaching new audiences. External communications draw attention to your brand, service or promotion, which evolves stories and messages into sought-after information for the media or your consumer. In order to access this level of media coverage, it’s important to build strong relationships with news outlets so that you can ensure your story is always heard.

Crisis Communications

Although it’s not always a fun subject to consider, a crisis communications plan is necessary. A crisis communications plan can be the element that holds your reputation together in severe times. Crisis communications is a component of public relations, similarly to external communications but solely focused to navigate potential negative scrutiny with minimum damage to a brand or organization. A key pieces of crisis communication involves identifying organizational spokesperson (or people), drafting pre-determined responses and building internal strategic planning in order to quickly and effectively control several potentially damaging scenarios. This area of communications services is usually completed internally, with the insight of key stakeholders, and executed externally across media and social media.

Public Relations vs. Marketing

It’s a decade-long debate: are public relations and marketing the same? No, the role of each is different. However, overlap is common and often necessary to achieve actionable results. The main difference between the two is that marketing is focused on promoting and selling a product, service or brand, whereas public relations is focused on maintaining positive reputation for a company as a whole or informing the public of the stories about the company or organization. A day in the life of a marketer entails generating ad campaigns, email marketing and newsletters, industry research and developing sales collateral, while a PR practitioner may draft press releases, pitch the media, write speeches, provide media coaching and craft statements. Although all of these tactics are vital for the company, you’ll notice PR focuses on the brand messaging and awareness, rather than driving sales and action. By working closely together, marketers and public relations practitioners can collaborate to achieve success for a partner.