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Public Relations

What is Public Relations?

Public Relations, often shortened to PR, is the practice of managing and distributing information from an individual or organization to the public in order to influence public perception. It is a process of strategic communication which aims to build mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. Public relations professionals help to shape an organization’s image, build their brand, spread their message, and minimize the effect of negative publicity. They are responsible for creating and executing a PR strategy, helping a business or individual cultivate a positive reputation through various unpaid or earned channels and formats, including press, social media, and in-person engagements. Moreover, they help their clients to defend and maintain their reputation during crises that menace their credibility.

The 5 different types of PR?

PR is a multidimensional discipline. The most prominent types of PR include: 1. Community relations: involves improving an organization’s image with the local or regional community. 2. Media relations: dealings with the press and media. 3. Public affairs: requires developing a relationship between your organization and the government. 4. Corporate social involvement: works to improve public image as an ethical organization. 5. Crisis management: works to control the damage after a major issue arises and can be essential to the organization’s future success.

The two sides of PR:

It is often said that PR has two sides: the positive story-telling side and the negative damage-control side. The positive side of PR refers to proactivity – in terms of image, reputation, idea, product, position, and accomplishments. Avenues of positive PR include news and press, media outreach, social media and speaking engagements. Conversely, negative PR describes the damage control undertaken by PR professionals to mitigate any damage that could taint the client’s reputation. PR professionals advise their clients on how to proceed if public discourse surrounding them has a negative sentiment. The role of PR is to deal with crisis communications, damage control, response or apology messaging and reputation restoration strategy.

How is PR different from advertising?

Public relations is often described to be unpaid, earned, and credible, whereas advertising is decidedly opposite - paid, purchased, and skeptical. This goes back to the old saying: ‘advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.’ Indeed, advertising is paid media and public relations is earned media. This means that public relations professionals convince reporters or editors to write a positive story about their clients. The story appears in the editorial section of the magazine, newspaper, TV station or website. Conversely, advertising messages appear in the ‘paid media’ section, which has little credibility and requires no external verification. The stories told by public relations teams are more credible because their work has to be independently verified by a trusted third party. Furthermore, PR firms charge monthly retainers or are hired for individual projects, whereas advertising can be very pricey. Buying an advertisement in a magazine can be very expensive and cannot guarantee success.

To find out more about Public Relations, visit these pages:

A Guide to Understanding PR

About Public Relations

What is Public Relations?

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