Public relations (PR) is fundamentally the art and science of establishing relationships between an organisation and its key audiences. It plays a crucial role in helping business industries create strong relationships with customers. The importance of public relations in companies is numerous.
PR involves supervising and assessing public attitudes and maintaining mutual relationships and understanding between an organisation and its public. The function of PR is to improve channels of communication and to institute new ways of setting up a two-way flow of information and understanding.
Benefits of PR
Public relations is effective in helping:
* Corporations convey information about their products or services to potential customers
* Corporations reach local government and legislators
* Politicians attract votes and raise money, and craft their public image and legacy
* Non-profit organisations, including schools, hospitals, social service agencies etc. boost support of their programs such as awareness programs, fund-raising programs, and to increase patronage of their services
PR in present times employs diverse techniques such as opinion polling and focus groups on evaluating public opinion, combined with a variety of high-tech methods for distributing information on behalf of their clients, including the internet, satellite feeds, broadcast faxes, and database-driven phone banks.
As the public image is essential to all organisations and prominent personalities, the role of public relations specialist becomes pertinent in crises. Public relations agencies provide necessary and timely transmission of information that helps save the face of the organisation.
In the words of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), “Public relations helps an organisation and its publics adapt mutually to one another.”
Experienced PR agencies have formulation press releases into which they can plug the company news, as well as a targeted list of publications for their industry. Outstanding PR agencies have a good working relationship with key reporters, boosting their chances of getting coverage. Some public relations agencies deal only with large, established clients, while smaller boutique PR agencies specialise in specific areas.
Career in PR
At present PR as a career, the option exists in private companies or government institutions that actively market their product, service and facilities. Public relations training courses are widespread in educational institutions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 270,000 PR specialists in the United States in 2018.
Most PR practitioners are recruited from the ranks of journalism. PR officers are highly trained professionals with expertise and knowledge in many areas, for example, shareholder management during a crisis, the evolving role of the in-house public relations professional, account management skills for PR, an introduction to financial PR, an introduction to consumer PR, an introduction to general PR etc.