What is Public Relations?

By Posted in - Entry-Level PR Job & Public Relations on January 17th, 2014

So, what is public relations exactly?

If you work in PR, this is a question you have probably fielded more than a few times. Public relations can be a hard thing for some people to understand. The industry has changed and developed significantly over the years, and, understandably, so has its definition. In fact, if you Google search “what is public relations,” you’ll find a different definition for every result on the first page.

An evolution of the definition of public relations.

An evolution of the definition of public relations.

But, despite the variances in wording, you will also see that all of these definitions basically boil down to the same thing: public relations is communicating the right message to the right people at the right time through the right medium. The specific who, what, why, where, when, how will change from situation to situation, but these core foundations of public relations will not:

PR connects key audiences. Whether you are trying to communicate with shareholders, consumers, critics or new markets, public relations allows people and companies to connect with other people and companies in a mutually beneficial way. This can include strategically using blogs and social media channels to connect with interested, target audiences or working with a local nonprofit to show your company’s interest and investment in the community. But, whatever the tactic, our focus is always on helping clients build, strengthen and nurture relationships.

PR raises awareness. PR pros are skilled at boosting interest and raising awareness about people, companies, products, ideas, events, etc. We strategically get the word out there to help build buzz, increase sales and cultivate genuine interest in your venture. Effective media relations efforts and thoughtful social media usage on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest can be just the right amount of information, exposure and engagement that you need to succeed. By blending traditional tools like media relations and event planning with newer ones like content marketing and social media, your public relations efforts will increase awareness and help drive your bottom line.

PR manages and communicates key messages and ideas. Plain and simple, PR people can help your company tell its story (strategically, of course!). At the center of public relations is strong writing and a critical eye for the most important details. Public relations tools like message boards, backgrounders, fact sheets and more can help you clearly articulate who you are, what you do and what makes you different. Coupled with a public relations team who can create and use these tools to spread information at just the right time to just the right audience, means your company news and branding is always consistent and effective.

Interested in learning more about what public relations professionals do? Check out PR Baton, an Instagram photo project created by Clairemont Communications to help explain what public relations is in a visually compelling way. Follow PR Baton on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook and sign up to participate and show your day in PR here.



(5) awesome comment(s)...

  • Ken Jacobs - Reply

    January 17, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Get caught doing good. That’s only four words, Eric. 🙂


  • Margot Horgan - Reply

    January 17, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Eric, I love that! I’ve never thought about PR that way before, but that’s a great way of looking at it. And, Abbie, I think it’s safe to safe I’ve never heard lettuce and PR in the same explanation before reading your post. But, I guess that’s one of the great (and sometimes confusing) things about PR–you can apply it in infinite ways to an infinite amount of situations. Thanks for sharing!

  • Abbie S. Fink - Reply

    January 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    One of my favorite questions… we’ve asked and answered that question several times on our blog before. My all-time favorite answer appeared a few years ago. Full disclosure, it is my mom’s view, but I happen to think it is a pretty awesome answer: http://hmapr.com/what-is-wednesday-what-is-public-relations-my-moms-take/

    • Dana Hughens - Reply

      January 30, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      Abbie, that is still one of my all time favorite blog posts, too! Absolutely brilliant and such a good explanation!

  • Eric Morgenstern - Reply

    January 17, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Do good, and get caught. Five simple words. That’s my favorite definition of “PR.”

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