4. What Public Relations Can Do

Since public relations communicates your messages through the news media, all the power of the media is brought to bear when the public—those viewers, listeners, or readers you want to reach—learns about your news.

Think of what this means: high interest level, credibility, implied objectivity, and possibly implied endorsement by the journalist or publication reporting the information. There is also an urgency conveyed when news is reported in the media—and that news has the potential to reach a tremendously large audience.

With exposure comes awareness. An important goal of public relations—in any medium—is to make people aware of what your organization is, what it offers, and what it does. Never underestimate the value of such awareness. In flashier terms, it's called buzz.

Creating awareness for your organization is important for the development and utilization of its programs and initiatives. You must inform the public and educational and training institutions about what you offer and how you can meet their needs. Public relations is probably the most valuable tool in accomplishing this. A well-implemented public relations initiative will help present your organization's offerings to their best advantage.

Public and news media relations also positions you to enter new marketplaces and exposes new Linux programs to new audiences—all without the expense associated with an advertising program. A sustained public relations program allows you to ensure your programs are in front of appropriate decision-makers. This continuous flow of information creates a constant awareness and a constant influx of inquiries—especially when integrated with other powerful marketing communications tools such as brochures, trade shows, and so on.