So What Exactly Is Public Relations?

EverythingPR reviews communications and marketing trends used by various web start-ups, public relations companies as well as highlights the services they provide for the purpose of promoting them. We also talk about Public Relations Goofs and highlight what NOT to do.

But all of this material can be daunting for the beginners who might just be starting out in this enormous field called public relations.

If you have ever felt overwhelmed by all the different things that have been published at the speed of light in the last few weeks since the site was started, and are looking to get some idea on what the heck Public Relations individuals/experts/specialists do, but do not really know where to start, we are going to start a section where we’ll talk about the fundamentals of Everything PR.

Today we wanted to breakdown exactly what is pr?

So, What exactly is Public Relations?

Here are some of the definitions I found on the web:

According to Wikipedia: Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics. Public relations – often referred to as PR – gains an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. Because public relations places exposure in credible third-party outlets, it offers a third-party legitimacy that advertising does not have.  Common activities include speaking at conferences, working with the press, and employee communication.

According to Princeton University’s WordNet: PR is a promotion intended to create goodwill for a person or institution.
According to Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. Public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Public relations specialists—also referred to as communications specialists and media specialists, among other titles—serve as advocates for businesses, nonprofit associations, universities, hospitals, and other organizations, and build and maintain positive relationships with the public. As managers recognize the importance of good public relations to the success of their organizations, they increasingly rely on public relations specialists for advice on the strategy and policy of such programs.

You see, the functions of a PR individual may vary from the public sector to corporate sector, but at the core their job is to build a bridge between the public and the company. They on one hand present the company in the most positive light they can to the public,  make them stand out from the crowd, explaining to media how the company works etc. but on the other also get feedback from the public – positive as well as negative and present it to the company management heads and make suggestions on how to improve their services and/or products, so the company can be successful in achieving it’s goals.

Because of this crucial function of building bridges and filling the gaps between the company and people, between company and the media, in order to be successful in the role of a Public Relations expert,  they need to be proficient in a number of fundamental skills and abilities such as:

  • Written and Verbal communication skills
  • Time Management
  • Multi-Tasking
  • Planning and Organizing
  • Ability to work under high levels of pressure
  • Strategy and Tact – ability to defend the company in times of criticism
  • Ability to do Research
  • Critical Thinking

Now these are very basic skills and abilities you must possess if you are thinking of getting in the PR business and be successful.  Public Relations individuals absolutely need to build bridges digitally.

These skills include but are not limited to:

  • Knowledge of blogging tools such as WordPress, Drupal or TypePad etc
  • Successful blogging to bring awareness to your company’s clients (most companies will probably consult their PR individuals on the kind of content that should go in a blog)
  • Building online relationships via microblogging e.g, Twitter
  • Learn how to use Social Media sites to build your company’s brand

So what other skills do you think a PR individual needs to have in order to be successful?

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