What Is Public Relations?
Public relations is the strategic process of managing communication between an organization and its various public audiences. Public relations practitioners use multiple tools and tactics to achieve organizational goals, such as increasing visibility, building relationships, and managing reputations.
Public relations is often confused with marketing and advertising, but there are distinctions between the three disciplines. For example, marketing is focused on selling products or services, while advertising is a paid form of marketing that uses persuasive techniques to promote a product, service, or brand. On the other hand, public relations focuses on building relationships and managing reputations.
What Do Public Relations Specialists Do
Some common public relations activities include media relations (pitching stories to the media, responding to inquiries, etc.), crisis management (handling negative publicity), issues management (addressing public concerns before they become crises), and reputation management (protecting and enhancing an organization’s image).
Public relations practitioners also develop and execute communication strategies, create and manage content, and engage in public outreach. They may also work with advertising and marketing professionals to execute integrated communication campaigns.
There are a few public relations activities that all practitioners should be familiar with, including media relations, crisis management, and reputation management.
Media relations is the process of pitching stories to the media and responding to inquiries from reporters. In addition, public relations practitioners use media relations to generate positive publicity for their organizations.
Crisis management is the process of handling negative publicity. When an organization is faced with a public relations crisis, the goal is to minimize the damage and protect the organization’s reputation.
Reputation management is the process of protecting and enhancing an organization’s image. For example, public relations practitioners use reputation management to build and maintain positive relationships with the public.
How Much Do Public Relations Specialists Make
According to the BLS, the average salary of a public relations specialist is $62,800 per year or $30.19 per hour. However, public relations practitioners with five to ten years of experience can earn $80,000 or more per year.
However, if you’re a freelance public relations consultant, then your earnings will vary depending on the number of clients you have and the scope of work you can take on. public relations consultants typically charge between $150 and $175 per hour.
Public Relations vs Media Relations
The slight difference between public relations and media relations is that public relations is the strategic process of managing communication between an organization and its various publics. On the other hand, media relations is a specialty used in public relations to achieve organizational goals specific to the media.
While public relations focuses on building relationships and managing reputations, media relations focuses on generating positive publicity for an organization. Media relations activities include pitching stories to the media and responding to inquiries from reporters.
Public relations practitioners use media relations to generate positive publicity for their organizations.
Why Is Public Relations Important
Public relations is important because it helps organizations build and maintain positive relationships with the public. Positive relationships with the public are essential for an organization to be successful.
Organizations with good public relations can effectively communicate their messages to their various publics. They’re also able to manage their reputations and protect their images.
Bad public relations can damage an organization’s reputation and image. It can also lead to public relations crises, which can be very damaging.
That’s why organizations need to have good public relations. Good public relations can help an organization avoid public relations disasters and build and maintain positive relationships with the public.
Building a Public Relations Strategy
When building a public relations strategy, the first step is to identify your goals.
- What do you want to achieve with your public relations efforts?
Once you’ve identified your goals, you need to research your audience.
- Whom are you trying to reach with your public relations efforts?
After you’ve done your research, you need to develop a plan of action.
- What public relations activities will you use to achieve your goals?
Once you’ve developed your plan, you need to implement it.
- Execute the public relations activities you’ve planned.
Finally, you need to evaluate the results of your public relations efforts.
- Did you achieve your goals? What worked well and what didn’t work so well?
Public Relations Examples
A few examples of public relations include:
- Writing and distributing press releases.
- Pitching stories to the media.
- Responding to inquiries from reporters.
Press releases are one of the most common public relations activities. They’re used to promote newsworthy events and announcements.
Pitching stories to the media is another everyday public relations activity. Public relations practitioners use pitches to get reporters interested in writing stories about their organizations.
Responding to inquiries from reporters is another crucial public relations activity. When reporters contact an organization for comment, it’s essential to respond quickly and professionally.
These are just a few examples of public relations activities. Companies can use many other public relations activities to achieve organizational goals.
As you can see, public relations is a significant part of an organization’s communication strategy. Therefore, organizations need to build and maintain positive relationships with the public.
Public Relations Tips
When executing a public relations campaign, always remember to keep your audience in mind. Whom are you trying to reach, and why is this important to them?
It’s also crucial to be proactive. Don’t wait for a crisis before you start thinking about public relations. Instead, plan ahead and develop a public relations strategy that you can implement when the need arises.
Finally, always be prepared to respond to inquiries from reporters. Reporters can be very aggressive, and they’ll often contact organizations for comments on stories but give short deadlines to respond. If you’re not prepared to respond, you could damage your organization’s reputation.
Becoming a Freelance Public Relations Consultant
There’s a tremendous opportunity for freelance public relations consultants. Public relations is a growing field, and organizations are always in need of help.
Many small to medium-sized businesses don’t have full-time public relations staff. They require support from freelancers to develop and execute public relations programs.
Large companies likely have public relations staff and PR firms. However, they may still require support from freelancers for specific projects or campaigns.
And don’t forget the PR firms. They specialize in public relations, but they often need help from freelancers to support their clients.
If you’re interested in becoming a freelance public relations consultant, there are a few things you need to do.
First, you need to build up your public relations skills and experience. You can do this by working for an organization in-house or at an agency. Or, you can volunteer at a non-profit to gain experience while working a different job or going to school.
Second, you need to build up your network. A network of contacts is essential for any freelancer, but it’s imperative in public relations. The more people you know, the more likely you are to get work and be successful for your clients.
Finally, you need to market yourself. Let people know that you’re available for public relations consulting work. Create a website, send out pitches, and network with other public relations professionals.
Now you know the answer to what is public relations. If you’re interested in becoming a freelance public relations consultant, we suggest reading our article on public relations consulting.