Seth Godin recently wrote one of his thoughtful blog pieces on the difference between PR and publicity, claiming that the latter was just coverage (“ink”), while PR constituted the crafting of perception, creating your story. You can read the whole piece here.
This difference also helps to eliminate what I think is one of the key concepts of the new integrated approaches to communication. It makes sense to talk not only about media or channel neutrality but also discipline neutrality.
Disciplines, i.e. the craft skills of marketing communication, aren’t hardwired to their traditional agency sectors. So, you might be measuring the publicity from your PR agency, but storytelling, and in particular finding a way of making your story so appealing that others want to tell it for you, can be done by any agency! For example, your design, promotions or digital agency could come up with what Seth Godin is calling PR.
And in an integrated world that might well be that the storytelling idea might be coming from one agency (it might well be the PR firm) and implemented by another. That is why, as he says, your PR agency might be recommending you not to send out press releases at all!