What Is Public Relations (PR)? Definition and Guide

What is public relations?

Public relations is the process of managing communications between a business and its public, or constituents.

It is a marketing tactic used to inform and educate:

  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Vendors
  • Stockholders
  • Influencers
  • Government officials
  • Neighbors

Public Relations Strategies

Within public relations, there are several strategies for communicating with the public, including:

  • Media relations: working with and through media outlets to share news and information about your business, products, and services.
  • Sponsorshipsproviding financial support for an event, team, or organization in exchange for recognition.
  • Internal communications: communicating with employees and vendors using tools like newsletters, social media, and town meetings, to keep them informed regarding important company business.
  • Special events: hosting or supporting public events that heighten awareness of your business.
  • Tradeshowsattending conferences, workshops, and expositions with a goal of increasing awareness of your company and its offerings.
  • Premiums: producing products featuring your company’s name or logo to be given to the public.
  • Social media: managing outgoing and incoming messages via blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram, with a goal of increasing awareness and positive perception.

The difference between PR and advertising

Many people use the term PR and advertising interchangeably, but the terms do not mean the same thing.

PR involves sharing information with the public using platforms that do not require a payment, such as social media or through press releases shared with magazines and newspapers. PR professionals package information and disseminate it in the hopes that it will be organically shared.

Advertising, on the other hand, involves paying for space in the media, or on websites, and controlling the message that is conveyed.

The goal of public relations is to shape public perception of a business, presenting a positive image to various constituents.

Public Relations FAQ

What is the role of a public relations professional?

The role of public relations professional is to develop and maintain a positive image of an organization, product, service, or individual. Public Relations professionals use a variety of tactics to build relationships with the public, including media relations, social media, public speaking, community outreach, and crisis management. They also create campaigns to promote a positive image and to persuade target audiences to take a specific action.

What are the 4 types of public relations?

  • Media Relations: Building relationships with journalists and other influencers to create positive press coverage.
  • Community Relations: Developing relationships with local citizens and organizations to create goodwill and trust.
  • Crisis Management: Developing strategies and plans to mitigate any negative publicity or public outcry.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: Developing activities that allow a company to demonstrate its commitment to social and environmental issues.

What are the 5 functions of public relations?

  • Media Relations: Developing relationships with the media, pitching stories, and handling press inquiries.
  • Crisis Management: Planning and executing strategies to mitigate the effects of negative publicity.
  • Brand Management: Enhancing the public’s perception of a brand or organization.
  • Employee Relations: Developing relationships with employees, communicating policies, and promoting a positive corporate culture.
  • Community Outreach: Building relationships with external stakeholders and engaging in activities that benefit the local community.