What is PR?

As a public relations professional, you probably get asked this question quite frequently and instead of replying with the snide, eye-roll provoking comment that you’re most likely thinking about, reply with any of the phrases below. When it comes to PR there are a few key points that should be included in every one of your definitions. Knowing and relaying these essential components of PR will aid in the clarification of the field.

PR involves building and maintaining symbiotic relationships between organizations or individuals and the public. Additionally, it is important to build the same relationships between your PR firm and its clients. The key word in this phrase is relationship. Relationships are crucial in PR because they are the basis of the system in which the field exists. Without positive relationships, PR firms would have no clients and without clients PR firms would not function.

PR uses strategic communication to create, execute and analyze public relations campaigns. The main goal of public relations campaigns is to effectively get an organization’s message across to the public. Although the message is simply given to the public, and they are to interpret it as they wish, it is ideal that the message be seen in a positive light.

Some people believe PR is a “spin” of the truth to be seen in a more favorable way, however this is not the case. To deter people from believing this it’s important to state what PR professionals do. PR professionals take an ethical approach in relaying certain messages to specific audiences. This involves the facts and the telling of facts. That is all.

PR would not be successful without research, as it is a necessary component that is used throughout all aspects of the field. It is also used to allow for complete knowledge of an organization prior to, during and following the public relations campaign process. Research is used to discover facts to support with all day-to-day PR tasks.

Analysis is critical in PR. Analyzing target audiences involves extensive research, but can produce significant results, especially in terms of solidifying relationships. Additionally, analysis is important in evaluating public relations campaigns. The success of a campaign will be measured using both pre and post research. PR professionals are then able to analyze the results.

PR is used to promote, not advertise. Although it may seem like PR professionals attempt to advertise for their clients, what they are really doing is promoting. Promoting differs from advertising because it uses the positive and interesting information regarding an organization to gauge interest from target audiences. Advertising is more general, as it tries to appeal to a wider audience and the ultimate goal is to engage consumers into buying into a product or cause.

If for some reason these phrases don’t work for you, simply remind the person who gives you a hard time for being in PR that…“You couldn’t do what I do, and I couldn’t do what you do.”

If you need help building your brand or bringing awareness to a cause, let us assist you as our relationships with the top tier media outlets, run deep. As always, we welcome all comments and feedback and if you like what you read, be social and share.

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