Fundamentally, public relations is the art and science of developing relationships between an organisation and its key audiences. Public relations is critical in assisting businesses in developing strong relationships with their customers.
Public relations entails monitoring and evaluating public attitudes, as well as fostering mutual respect and understanding between an organisation and its constituents. Public relations’ role is to strengthen channels of communication and to pioneer new methods for establishing a two-way flow of information and understanding.
Public relations is beneficial in the following ways:
* Corporations educate potential customers about their products or services.
* Corporations communicate with local government officials and legislators
* Politicians garner support and funds, as well as shape their public image and legacy.
* Non-profit organisations, such as schools, hospitals, and social service agencies, seek to increase support for their programmes, such as awareness campaigns and fund-raising campaigns, as well as patronage of their services.
Public relations in the modern era employs a variety of techniques to gauge public opinion, including opinion polling and focus groups, as well as a variety of high-tech techniques for disseminating information on behalf of their clients, such as the internet, satellite feeds, broadcast faxes, and database-driven phone banks.
Because public image is critical to all organisations and prominent individuals, the role of public relations specialist becomes critical during times of crisis. Public relations firms ensure that critical information is communicated in a timely manner, thereby preserving the organization’s face. According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), “public relations assists an organisation and its constituents in mutual adaptation.”
Experiential public relations firms have developed press releases to incorporate company news, as well as a targeted list of publications for their industry. Truly effective public relations firms maintain positive relationships with key reporters, which increases their chances of receiving coverage. Certain public relations firms focus exclusively on large, established clients, while smaller boutique firms specialise in specific areas.
At the moment, careers in public relations are available in private companies and government institutions that actively market their products, services, and facilities. Educational institutions offer numerous public relations training courses. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 122,000 public relations specialists and approximately 485,000 advertising, marketing, and public relations managers employed across all industries in the United States in 1998.
The majority of public relations professionals come from the ranks of journalism. Public relations officers are highly trained professionals who possess expertise and knowledge in a variety of fields, including shareholder management during a crisis, the evolving role of the in-house public relations professional, public relations account management skills, an introduction to financial public relations, an introduction to consumer public relations, and an introduction to public relations strategy.