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By Korryn McMinn

When people ask us, “where do you work?” and we respond by telling them a PR firm, sometimes that draws a lot of questions about what it is we do. Today, I'm here to try and clear it up a bit for you. Keep reading!

What is Public Relations?

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If you want to get technical, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines PR as:

“Public relations is a strategic com

munication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

Everyone has a different opinion about what public relations is because it means something different to everyone. To me, PR is helping reputations (maybe that word has just been on my mind a lot with anticipating the new Taylor Swift release… but still).

Public relations is forming relationships between companies and the public. It’s increasing awareness and brand recognition. It’s helping connect the businesses to the consumers they’d like to attract.

What Do You Do as a PR Professional?

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This can entail so much, and if you’re not familiar with this industry it can be a little hard to grasp. In a nutshell, we help with name recognition and branding and connecting businesses to the public. This includes but is in no way limited to:

  • Media Relations (scheduling interviews, getting air time for clients, press conferences, writing press releases, media kit creation, website creation, etc.)
  • Social Media Management (interacting with followers, creating content, etc.)
  • Community Relations (events, sponsorships/fundraising, special promotions)

If you’re still a little fuzzy on it, the PRSA also says that PR encompasses:

  • Anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, attitudes and issues that might impact, for good or ill, the operations and plans of the organization.
  • Counseling management at all levels in the organization with regard to policy decisions, courses of action and communication, taking into account their public ramifications and the organization’s social or citizenship responsibilities.
  • Researching, conducting and evaluating, on a continuing basis, programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding necessary to the success of an organization’s aims. These may include marketing; financial; fund raising; employee, community or government relations; and other programs.
  • Planning and implementing the organization’s efforts to influence or change public policy. Setting objectives, planning, budgeting, recruiting and training staff, developing facilities — in short, managing the resources needed to perform all of the above.

So, is PR like Advertising?

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In short: no.

Forbes explains it like this: There’s an old saying: “Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.”Advertising is paid media; public relations is earned media. This means you convince reporters or editors to write a positive story about you or your client, your candidate, brand or issue. It appears in the editorial section of the magazine, newspaper, TV station or website, rather than the “paid media” section where advertising messages appear. So your story has more credibility because it was independently verified by a trusted third party, rather than purchased.

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We get it – PR can be a confusing industry if isn’t something you’re familiar with. Hopefully this cleared the air and made it a little more understandable. If you have more questions, don’t be afraid to send us a quick message!