Introduction to Public Relations

What is Public Relations (PR)


Public relations (PR) is the way organisations, companies and individuals communicate with the public and media. A PR specialist communicates with the target audience directly or indirectly through media with an aim to create and maintain a positive image and create a strong relationship with the audience. Examples include press releases, newsletters, public appearances, etc. as well as utilisation of the world wide web.

PR and the World of Business

The world of business is characterised by fierce competition and in order to win new customers and retain the existing ones, the firms have to distinguish themselves from the competition. But they also need to create and maintain a positive public image. A PR specialist or firm helps them both create and maintain a good reputation among both the media and the customers by communicating in their behalf and presenting their products, services and the overall operation in the best light possible. A positive public image helps create a strong relationship with the customers which in turn increases the sales.

PR Tools and Techniques

PR specialists and firms use a number of tools and techniques to boost their clients’ public image and help them form a meaningful relationship with the target audience. To achieve that, they use tools such as news releases and statements for media, newsletters, organisation and participation at public events conferences, conventions, awards, etc.. PR specialists of course also utilise the Internet tools such as social media networks and blogs. Through the mentioned tools, PR specialists give the target audience a better insight into their clients’ activities and products/services as well as increase publicity.

Who Can Work as a PR

A PR specialist is usually required to have a relevant type and level of education such as a Bachelor’s degree in communications or journalism. Proper education, however, is not enough to become a PR and much less to become a successful PR. A PR specialist needs certain skills (they are acquired through additional education and training), in the first place excellent writing and verbal communication skills. But a PR specialist also must know to work under pressure and be able to answer a variety of questions including unpleasant ones. For example, if the client is under a public “attack”, a PR specialist needs to establish a control over the situation and protect the client’s good reputation.