What is PR?: 7 Public Relations Definitions

What is PR
What is public relations?

For an industry that does so much to help define its clients and their industries, it is an unfortunate turn of events that our own industry has such a vague understanding among many audiences. When I first told my parents I had entered into the field of public relations they went about telling all of their friends and family that their daughter had made it big in the Madison Avenue world of advertising—yup, advertising. Like so many others, they had no idea what public relations was. And who could blame them? Especially when our industry has continued to evolve over the decades and has never settled on just one basic definition. See for yourself.

  1.  Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. PRSA
  2. The activity or job of providing information about a particular person or organization to the public so that people will regard that person or organization in a favorable way. Merriam-Webster
  3. The profession or practice of creating and maintaining goodwill of an organization’s various publics (customers, employees, investors, suppliers, etc.), usually through publicity and other nonpaid forms of communication. These efforts may also include support of arts, charitable causes, education, sporting events, and other civic engagements. BusinessDictionary.com
  4. Public relations is the opposite of advertising. In advertising, you pay to have your message placed in a newspaper, TV or radio spot. In public relations, the article that features your company is not paid for. The reporter, whether broadcast or print, writes about or films your company as a result of information he or she received and researched.
    Publicity is more effective than advertising, for several reasons. First, publicity is far more cost-effective than advertising. Even if it is not free, your only expenses are generally phone calls and mailings to the media. Second, publicity has greater longevity than advertising. An article about your business will be remembered far longer than an ad. Entrepreneur
  5. Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organization) and the public. Public relations may include an organization or individual gaining exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. This differentiates it from advertising as a form of marketing communications. Public relations is the idea of creating coverage for clients for free, rather than marketing or advertising. Wikipedia
  6. Public relations is the art of managing the spread of information about an individual or company is disseminated to the public, and attempting to frame that information in a positive light. Investopedia.com
  7. A basic definition of public relations is to shape and maintain the image of a company, organization or individual in the eyes of the client’s various “publics.” What is a “public” exactly? A public, in PR terms, is anyone who ever has or ever will form an opinion about the client. Money