PR Who?


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.

  • Management
    • 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
    • Continuous
  • Organizational and public interest
    • Simultaneous and democratic

PR process.

  1. Research
  2. Planning
  3. Communication
  4. Evaluation

*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.

PR strategy.

  • Message
    • Informative and persuasive
  • Medium
    • Mass media: old-fashioned vs. specialized
  • Public
    • Group of people who share common interests

PR research.

  • 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.

  • Consultants
    • Strategic planning, listening and observing
  • Facilitators
    • Acting as liaison between the organization and its publics
  • Problem-solvers
    • Working with management to identify and avoid problems
  • Communication technicians
    • Planning, writing, event planning and managing

Pertinent PR skills.

  • Strategic thinking
  • Writing
  • 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!

Let me know your thoughts!