What is PR?
Public relations, by definition, is “the business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution;” Understanding and goodwill, however, can be a tough benchmark to meet. Public relations means developing relationships with the media, interest groups, and organizations to promote a company’s values. PR and communications specialists do much more than promote brands. They can show businesses as members of the community.
Every company needs public relations. But the level of PR support needed depends on the organization’s size and what they do. For example, certain manufacturers may need to focus their efforts on crisis management — in the case of product recalls or an industrial accident. Other organizations, such as professional service firms, may want public relations support for their community involvement, volunteerism, or sustainability efforts.
Public relations efforts can help your organization with positive media attention, or help repair a brand’s public image when a company crisis occurs. Media relations outreach can take many forms — news releases, newsletters, blogs, and news conferences. It’s important for you to have a PR professional working with you to make sure the media hears your story.
Similarly, during a crisis communications situation, you want a PR professional at your side to help your company navigate treacherous waters. A seasoned communications expert can help your company survive the crisis, and repair your organization’s long-term reputation. Any crisis must be addressed timely and effectively, even if the company itself is not at fault.
A good public relations expert can also help you target specific audiences. Online and social media have brought new opportunities and challenges. However, the main focus of public relations remains the same: to promote a positive image of a company, organization or public figure.
PR specialists must have excellent written and verbal communication skills, an ability to think critically and creatively, and be able to make sound judgments under pressure. Many times a PR specialist will either take the lead or coach executives in times of crisis, to deliver accurate information and address public concerns while keeping the company’s reputation in tact. While most PR professionals have degrees in communications, business, or journalism, good PR skills are primarily developed in the field, by taking on demanding projects.
Every company, whether a small business, corporation, or local public figure, should work alongside a public relations specialist to broaden their influence and accelerate their brand’s growth. To learn more about careers in public relations, click here.