Ask journalism students what public relations is, and there’s a good chance they can’t explain it. Even I have a hard time getting my words together. I am, however, super AWESOME at drawing up a well-detailed report for other people to read. What can I say? It’s the PR in me!
According to the Public Relations Society of America, the true definition of public relations is as follows:
“A strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
Four key elements of PR.
- Planning, organizing and leading various resources to achieve organizational goals effectively
- Mutually-beneficial relationships
- Between an organization and its external and internal publics
- Two-way communication
- Organizational and public interest
- Simultaneous and democratic
*Note: Every step of the PR process and beyond is values-driven. This means that every organization must include a set of principles that it follows in day-to-day work.
- Informative and persuasive
- Mass media: old-fashioned vs. specialized
- Group of people who share common interests
- Policy – statement of purpose, expected position, etc; consider internal (organizational) policies and external (public/stakeholder) policies
- Background Material – scholarly
- Publics – geographies, demographics and psychographics
- Messages – what you say and how you say it
- Media – the best way to share your message
- Evaluation – determining the best solution
Basic roles of PR.
- Strategic planning, listening and observing
- Acting as liaison between the organization and its publics
- Working with management to identify and avoid problems
- Communication technicians
- Planning, writing, event planning and managing
Pertinent PR skills.
- Strategic thinking
- Public relations planning
- Knowing current events
- Mastering business literacy
Sample PR tools.
- Memos – used for internal matters
- Designs – such as logos, letterheads and business cards
- Feature stories – profile stories and other stories of lesser importance that do not have an immediate publish date
- Backgrounders – reports that give a detailed account of an organization’s issue
- Position papers – reports that outline an organization’s purpose and goals
- Fact sheets – short briefs on upcoming events
- Print news releases – short letters that pitch upcoming events; indirectly meant for journalists/reporters to “push” the information to the public
- Pitch letters – short briefs on a new product (person, event or idea) that is sent directly to a journalist/reporter
- Query letters – meant to promote a product
- Public service announcements – radio or television messages meant to persuade and position an idea into the public’s mind
- Multimedia news releases – a print news release that is produced online
- Media advisories – an extensive fact sheet that outlines a particular angle a journalist/reporter should pursue while pushing the information to the public
I hope that my notes have provided you all with a clearer definition of what public relations is and why it matters. If you have anything to add, I am always open to suggestions. Use the comment box below to send me your feedback. Thanks for reading!