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  • Jerome Cleary

How Does Publicity and Public Relations Brand Clients?

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Most people come to realize that publicity and public relations are two different aspects that contribute to the relationships between public figures and the media. They both function in the same field, and many professionals have experience with both of these concepts. If you're interested in public relations and publicity, it's helpful to learn the differences and similarities to determine which career path best suits you.

In this article, we define publicity and public relations, explain the differences and similarities between them and provide a few examples of each.

What is publicity?

Publicity refers to any information presented to the general public in the media that has the potential to change public opinion of a brand, company, individual or product. The entity spoken about doesn't control or manage the information, which leads to a combination of positive and negative news. Publicity serves to create awareness or build credibility about an entity through news, press releases, event information and other forms of communication. Since the main goal of publicity is to gain any amount of media coverage, it often has a narrow focus.

What is public relations?

Public relations (PR) refers to the combination of strategies employed by a company to manage public opinion and control the reputation of an entity. These strategies strive to create messages that connect to the public by generating a shared understanding. Public relations seeks to curate specific messages for a target audience. Public relations encompasses several strategies, including:

·       Community outreach

·       Grassroots communication

·       Audience engagement efforts

·       Public appearances

·       Public presentations

·       Social responsibility programs

Publicity vs. public relations

Comparing these two media strategies can help enhance your work as a publicist. While these concepts have some overlapping qualities, there are key differences as well. The main differences and similarities between publicity and public relations include:


The methods of publicity and public relations differ as a result of their scope. Since publicity has a bigger focus on news, the main method of communicating information is through the press. Publicity involves interacting with the press to create public exposure. This can add a layer of validation to the information since it's coming from a neutral third party rather than from the company or brand itself. While publicity may seem hard to manage, it can have a positive and organic impact on the public's perception.

Public relations, though, uses many channels to communicate information. It focuses on maintaining control over the public's perception of a particular brand. Because of this focus, it may utilize community events, social media or other forms of public interaction to build a positive reputation. Public relations strive to build and sustain relationships between its audience, stakeholders and potential customers.


Publicity is a facet of public relations, but public relations isn't a part of publicity. Since public relations has a broad scope, it encompasses publicity efforts in its wide-reaching definition. Publicity focuses narrowly on interactions with the media, while public relations includes media relations, as well as many other strategies of communication with a public audience.


Publicity and public relations have different goals as a result of their methods and scope. Publicity seeks to communicate all types of information about a company, brand or individual, with the goal of creating public awareness. Public relations has the goal of drawing attention to specific aspects of the brand. This helps PR professionals manage the image of a company or client to influence public perception. Often, public relations professionals focus on communicating positive information.

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