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Publicity is just an aspect of public relations even though the two concepts are often interchangeably used and wrongly so.

Publicity concerns a company, organization or individual’s presence in the media. Forms of publicity include news stories, articles and event information. Publicity creates public awareness and attention around a brand, and publicists gain publicity for their clients by promoting them.

Although pitching a story, event or the latest development to the media is important in public relations, it isn’t the only aspect of the job. In public relations, publicity is viewed as a way to gain media coverage for the client in a cost-efficient and immediate manner. Saying that publicity is the same as public relations ignores the true goals and objectives of each discipline and fails to acknowledge the remaining responsibilities of a PR practitioner.

Unlike public relations, publicity is used solely to attract attention. It differs from PR in the sense that public relations focuses on more than just public attention. The intent in public relations is to accomplish an organization’s stated goals by sending strategic messages to the appropriate audiences in hopes of impacting their knowledge, behaviors or attitudes. In short, PR manages the overall reputation of the client while simultaneously building relationships among all of those who are affected by it. As a management function, PR focuses on building relationships and managing an image.

Traditional advertising has its limitations. It’s expensive, and it can be difficult to know whether you’re reaching your target audience.

Publicity won’t necessarily take the place of traditional advertising, but it can raise your profile. Even better, the best publicity strategies don’t involve buying advertising time or space.