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Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an
organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), is an legal entity, entity—such a ...

organization
(such as a
business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit." Having a business name A trade ...

business
,
government agency A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an Administration ...
, or a
nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in contrast with an entity that op ...
) to the public in order to affect their public perception. Public relations (PR) and publicity differ in that PR is controlled internally, whereas
publicityIn marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasize in advertising; opera ...

publicity
is not controlled and contributed by external parties. Public relations may include an organization or individual gaining
exposure
exposure
to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. The exposure mostly is
media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement for advertising ** Broadcast media, communications deliv ...
-based. This differentiates it from
advertising Advertising is a marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasize ...

advertising
as a form of
marketing communicationsMarketing Communications (MC, marcom(s), marcomm(s) or just simply communications) refers to the use of different marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially includi ...
. Public relations aims to create or obtain coverage for clients for free, also known as
earned mediaEarned media (or free media) refers to publicity gained through promotional efforts other than paid media advertising, which refers to publicity gained through advertising, or owned media, which refers to branding. Background There are many types ...
, rather than paying for
marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasize in advertising; operation of adv ...

marketing
or advertising also known as paid media. But in the early 21st century, advertising is also a part of broader PR activities. An example of good public relations would be generating an article featuring a PR firm's client, rather than paying for the client to be advertised next to the article. The aim of public relations is to inform the public, prospective customers, investors, partners, employees, and other
stakeholders Stakeholder may refer to: *Stakeholder (corporate), a group, corporate, organization, member, or system that affects or can be affected by an organization's actions *Project stakeholder, a person, group, or organization with an interest in a projec ...
, and ultimately persuade them to maintain a positive or favorable view about the organization, its
leadership Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group or organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and Br ...

leadership
, products, or political decisions. Public relations professionals typically work for PR and marketing firms, businesses and
companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness ...

companies
,
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executive (government), ex ...

government
, and
public officials An official is someone who holds an office (function or Mandate (politics), mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual Office, working space with it) in an organization or government and participates in the exercise of authority, (either the ...

public officials
as
public information officer A spokesperson, spokesman, or spokeswoman, is someone engaged or elected to speak on behalf of others. Duties and function In the present media-sensitive world, many organizations are increasingly likely to employ professionals who have receive ...
s and
nongovernmental organizations upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience at the launch of the "Europe in a suitcase" project by two NGOs (the EGI and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation), which aims to increase ...
, and nonprofit organizations. Jobs central to public relations include account coordinator,
account executive Account executive is a role in advertising Advertising is a marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection o ...
, account supervisor, and media relations manager. Public relations specialists establish and maintain relationships with an organization's target
audience An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a , (in which they are called "readers"), , (in which they are called "listeners"), (in which they are called "players"), or academics in any medium. Audience members p ...

audience
, the media, relevant trade media, and other
opinion leaders Opinion leadership is leadership by an active media user who interprets the meaning of media messages or content for lower-end media users. Typically the opinion leader is held in high esteem by those who accept their opinions. Opinion leadership co ...
. Common responsibilities include designing communications campaigns, writing
press releases A press release is an official statement delivered to members of the news media for the purpose of providing information, an official statement, or making an announcement. A press release is traditionally composed of nine structural elements, inc ...
and other content for news, working with the
press Press commonly refers to: *Pressure, or the act of pressing *Printing press, commonly called "the press" *Print media, commonly called "the press" after the printing press Press may also refer to: People * Press (surname), a family name of English ...
, arranging
interview conducted with a member of the public File:Luis Castro esklevndurt.jpg, Some interviews are recorded for television broadcast An interview is essentially a structured conversation where one participant asks questions, and the other provides ...

interview
s for company spokespeople, writing
speech Speech is human vocal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and inner thought and ...

speech
es for company leaders, acting as an organization's
spokesperson A spokesperson, spokesman, or spokeswoman, is someone engaged or elected to speak on behalf of others. Duties and function In the present media-sensitive world, many organizations are increasingly likely to employ professionals who have receive ...

spokesperson
, preparing clients for
press conferences A press conference or news conference is a media event A media event, also known as a pseudo-event, is an event, activity, or experience conducted for the purpose of media publicity. It may also include any event that is covered in the mass medi ...
, media interviews and speeches, writing
website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web page A web page (or webpage) is a hypertext File:Douglas Engelbart in 2008.jpg, Douglas Engelbart in 2009, at the 40th anniversary celebrations of "The Mother of All Demos" i ...

website
and
social media Social media are interactive technologies that facilitate the creation Creation may refer to: Religion * Creation ''ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) ...

social media
content, managing company reputation (
crisis management Crisis management is the process by which an organization deals with a disruptive and unexpected event that threatens to harm the organization or its stakeholders. The study of crisis management originated with large-scale industrial and environ ...
), managing
internal communications Internal communications (IC) is the function responsible for effective communications Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing meaning among entities or groups through the use of sufficiently mut ...
, and marketing activities like brand awareness and event management. Success in the field of public relations requires a deep understanding of the interests and concerns of each of the company's many stakeholders. The public relations professional must know how to effectively address those concerns using the most powerful tool of the public relations trade, which is publicity.


Definitions

Ivy Lee Ivy Ledbetter Lee (July 16, 1877 – November 9, 1934) was an American publicity expert and a founder of modern public relations. Lee is best known for his public relations work with the Rockefeller family. His first major client was the Penns ...

Ivy Lee
, the man who turned around the Rockefeller name and image, and his friend, Edward Louis Bernays, established the first definition of public relations in the early 20th century as follows: "a management function, which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures and interests of an organization... followed by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance." However, when Lee was later asked about his role in a hearing with the United Transit Commission, he said "I have never been able to find a satisfactory phrase to describe what I do." In 1948, historian Eric Goldman noted that the definition of public relations in Webster's would be "disputed by both practitioners and critics in the field." According to Bernays, the public relations counsel is the agent working with both modern media of communications and group formations of society in order to provide ideas to the public's consciousness. Furthermore, he is also concerned with ideologies and courses of actions as well as material goods and services and public utilities and industrial associations and large trade groups for which it secures popular support. In August 1978, the World Assembly of Public Relations Associations defined the field as
"the art and
social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biol ...

social science
of analyzing
trends Trend, trending, or trends may refer to: Data patterns and forecasting *Market trend, a period of time when prices in a financial market are rising ("bull market") or falling ("bear market") faster than their historical average **Real estate trend ...
, predicting their consequences, counselling organizational leaders and implementing planned programs of action, which will serve both the organization and the
public interest The public interest is "the welfare or well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a person is what ...
."
Public Relations Society of America The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is a nonprofit trade association A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association, sector association or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by bus ...
, a professional trade association, defined public relations in 1982 as:
"Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other."
In 2011 and 2012, the PRSA solicited crowd supplied definitions for the term and allowed the public to vote on one of three finalists. The winning definition stated that:
"Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics."
Public relations can also be defined as the practice of managing
communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...

communication
between an organization and its publics.


History

Public relations has historical roots pre-dating the 20th century. Most textbooks regard the establishment of the "Publicity Bureau" in Boston in 1900 as marking the founding of a public relations
profession A Profession is a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted by the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised body of learning derived from re ...

profession
. Academics have found early forms of public influence and
communications management#REDIRECT Communications management Communications management is the systematic planning, implementing, monitoring, and revision of all the channels of communication within an organization and between organizations; it also includes the organizati ...
in ancient civilizations.
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
's ''Rhetoric'', for example, explains core foundations for
persuasion Persuasion or persuasion arts is an umbrella term of Social influence, influence. Persuasion can attempt to influence a person's beliefs, Attitude (psychology), attitudes, intentions, motivations, or behaviors. Persuasion is studied in many di ...

persuasion
. It is believed that there is an evolutionary aspect to PR and that it only has improved over time. Evidence shows that it continued to evolve during the settling of the
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The rem ...
and during the movement to abolish slavery in England. Basil Clarke is considered the founder of public relations in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
for his establishment of "Editorial Services" in 1924. The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and others used the concept of
propaganda Propaganda is communication that is primarily used to influence Influence or influencer may refer to: *Social influence, in social psychology, influence in interpersonal relationships **Minority influence, when the minority affect the behavior ...
, which later evolved into public relations, to rally domestic support and to demonize enemies during the
World Wars#REDIRECT world war {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from ambiguous term {{R from other capitalisation ...
(compare
journalism Journalism is the production and distribution of report Image:Hurt Report cover page.png, 220px, Example of a front page of a report A report is a document that presents information in an organized format for a specific audience and purpose. ...

journalism
).
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
(1914-1918), which affected not only military but whole populations, is considered to be "modern propaganda's launching pad". This led to more sophisticated commercial publicity efforts as public-relations talent entered the private sector. Most historians believe modern-day public relations was first established in the US by
Ivy Lee Ivy Ledbetter Lee (July 16, 1877 – November 9, 1934) was an American publicity expert and a founder of modern public relations. Lee is best known for his public relations work with the Rockefeller family. His first major client was the Penns ...

Ivy Lee
(1877-1934) or by
Edward Bernays Edward Louis Bernays ( , ; November 22, 1891 − March 9, 1995) was an American pioneer in the field of public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...
(1891-1995), then spread internationally. Meanwhile, in the nascent
Soviet Russia The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Russian SFSR or RSFSR; rus, links=no, Российская Советская Федеративная Социалистическая Республика, Rossiyskaya Sovetskaya Federativnaya ...
of the 1920s, artists and poets (such as Mayakovsky) engaged in public-relations campaigns for various state agencies and causes (note for example
Likbez Likbez (russian: ликбе́з, ; from a Russian abbreviation for "likvidatsiya bezgramotnosti", ликвида́ция безгра́мотности, , meaning "elimination of illiteracy") was a campaign of eradication of illiteracy in Soviet ...
). Many American companies with PR departments spread the practice to Europe when they set up European subsidiaries in the wake of the
Marshall plan The Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was an American initiative passed in 1948 for foreign aid to Western Europe. The United States transferred over $12 billion (equivalent to $ billion in ) in economic rec ...

Marshall plan
of 1948-1952. In the second half of the 20th century, public relations entered an era of
professional development Professional development is learning to earn or maintain professional credentials A credential is a piece of any document that details a qualification, competence, or authority issued to an individual by a third party with a relevant or ''de f ...
. Trade associations, PR news-magazines, international PR agencies, and academic principles for the profession were established. In the early 2000s, press-release services began offering social-media press releases.
The Cluetrain Manifesto ''The Cluetrain Manifesto'' is a work of business literature collaboratively authored by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger. It was first posted to the web in 1999 as a set of ninety-five theses, and was published as a ...
, which predicted the effect of social media in 1999, was controversial in its time, but by 2006 the effect of social media and new
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected s that uses the (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ' that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to ...

Internet
technologies became broadly accepted.


Career prospects


United Kingdom

''
Cosmopolitan Cosmopolitan may refer to: Food and drink * Cosmopolitan (cocktail), also known as a "Cosmo" History * Rootless cosmopolitan, a Soviet derogatory epithet during Joseph Stalin's anti-Semitic campaign of 1949–1953 Hotels and resorts * Cosmopo ...
'' reported that the average annual salary for a "public relations director" was £77,619 in 2017. One notable former PR practitioner was former Prime Minister
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British politician, businessman, lobbyist In politics, lobbying, persuasion, or interest representation is the act of lawfully attempting to influence the actions, policies, or d ...
.


United States


Education

Public relations practitioners typically have a bachelor's degree in journalism, communications, public relations, marketing, or English. Many senior practitioners have advanced degrees; a 2015 survey found that forty-percent of chief communications officers at
Fortune 500 The ''Fortune'' 500 is an annual list compiled and published by ''Fortune Fortune may refer to: General * Fortuna or Fortune, the Roman goddess of luck * Luck, a chance happening, or that which happens beyond a person's controls * Wealth, an ab ...
companies had master's degrees. In 2013, a survey of the 21,000 members of the
Public Relations Society of America The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is a nonprofit trade association A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association, sector association or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by bus ...
found that 18-percent held the Accreditation in Public Relations.


Salary

In 2019, a ''
PR Week ''PRWeek'' is a trade magazine for the public relations industry. The original UK edition was the brainchild of the late Geoffrey Lace who at the time worked for Haymarket. After failing to interest Haymarket in his idea he left to launch it on ...
'' survey found a median annual compensation of $95,000 for public relations practitioners, with sector medians ranging from $85,000 in the non-profit sector, $96,000 in a private agency setting, and $126,000 in a for-profit corporation. The
Bureau of Labor Statistics The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a unit of the United States Department of Labor The United States Department of Labor (DOL) is a cabinet-level department of the U.S. federal government responsible for occupational safety and health, ...
, meanwhile, reports the median annual for "public relations specialists" at $68,000 in 2017 and $114,000 for "public relations managers". According to a study made by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020, they found that public relations practitioners in the United States private sector – working at PR agencies – have a median salary of $57,940. Individuals that work within the federal sector have reported to be making a median income of $65,310. The information collected shows those that work for professional, labour, political, and similar organizations average $66,340 a year. The c-level position of
chief communications officerThe public relations officer (PRO) or chief communications officer (CCO) or corporate communications officer is the head of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning a ...
(CCO), used in some private companies, usually earned more than $220,000 annually as of 2013. CCOs at Fortune 200 companies, meanwhile, had an average compensation package of just over $1 million annually, according to a 2009 survey by ''
Fortune Fortune may refer to: General * Fortuna or Fortune, the Roman goddess of luck * Luck, a chance happening, or that which happens beyond a person's controls * Wealth, an abundance of items of economic value * Fortune, a prediction made in fortune-te ...
''; this amount included base salary, bonus, and stock options. Within the U.S. federal government, public affairs workers had a 2016 average salary of approximately $101,922, with the U.S. Forest Service employing the most such professionals. Of federal government agencies employing more than one public affairs worker, those at the
Federal Aviation Administration The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the largest transportation agency of the U.S. government and regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the country as well as over surrounding international waters. Its powers include air traffic m ...
earned the most, on average, at approximately $150,130. The highest-earning public affairs worker within the U.S. government, meanwhile, earned $229,333. Salaries of public relations specialists in local government vary widely. The chief communications officer of the
Utah Transit Authority The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) is a special service district responsible for providing public transportation throughout the Wasatch Front of Utah Utah ( , ) is a state in the Mountain West region of the United States The Unit ...
earned $258,165 in total compensation in 2014 while an early-career
public information officer A spokesperson, spokesman, or spokeswoman, is someone engaged or elected to speak on behalf of others. Duties and function In the present media-sensitive world, many organizations are increasingly likely to employ professionals who have receive ...
for the city of
Conway, South Carolina Conway is a city in Horry County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 17,103 at the 2010 census, and estimated at 25,956 in 2019. It is the county seat of Horry County and is part of the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area. It is the home ...
had a pay range beginning at approximately $59,000 per year in 2017.


Canada

''
Indeed Indeed is an American worldwide employment website An employment website is a website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web pages and related content that is identified by a common domain name and published on at leas ...
'' reported that the average annual salary for a "public relations manager" was $59,326 in June 2019. According to Stats Canada, there has been no growth in the demand for journalists in Canada, but the demand for PR practitioners continues to grow. Most journalists transition into public relations smoothly and bring a much-needed skill-set to the profession. Public relations practitioners typically have a bachelor's degree in communications, public relations, journalism, or English. Some senior practitioners have advanced degrees. The industry has seen an influx of journalists because newsrooms are in decline and the salaries tend to be higher.


Tactics

Public relations professionals present the face of an organization or individual, usually to articulate its objectives and official views on issues of relevance, primarily to the media. Public relations contributes to the way an organization is perceived by influencing the media and maintaining relationships with stakeholders. According to Dr. Jacquie L’Etang from Queen Margaret University, public relations professionals can be viewed as "discourse workers specializing in communication and the presentation of argument and employing
rhetorical Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. There is no generally agreed definition ...
strategies to achieve managerial aims." Specific public relations disciplines include: * Financial public relations – communicating financial results and business strategy *
Consumer A consumer is a person or a group who intends to order, orders, or uses purchased goods, products, or services Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administrative service, a required part o ...
/
lifestyle Lifestyle often refers to: * Lifestyle (sociology), the way a person lives * ''Otium'', ancient Roman concept of a lifestyle * Style of life (german: Lebensstil), dealing with the dynamics of personality Lifestyle may also refer to: Business and ...
public relations – gaining publicity for a particular product or service * Crisis communication – responding in a crisis *
Internal communications Internal communications (IC) is the function responsible for effective communications Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing meaning among entities or groups through the use of sufficiently mut ...
– communicating within the company itself *
Government relations In politics, lobbying, persuasion, or interest representation is the act of lawfully attempting to influence the actions, policies, or decisions of government officials, most often legislators or members of regulatory agency, regulatory agenci ...
– engaging government departments to influence public policy *
Media relationsMedia Relations involves working with media for the purpose of informing the public of an organization's mission, policies and practices in a positive, consistent and credible manner. Typically, this means coordinating directly with the people resp ...
– a public relations function that involves building and maintaining close relationships with the news media so that they can sell and promote a business. * Social Media/Community Marketing - in today's climate, public relations professionals leverage social media marketing to distribute messages about their clients to desired target markets *In-house public relations – a public relations professional hired to manage press and publicity campaigns for the company that hired them. *'Black Hat PR' - manipulating public profiles under the guise of neutral commentators or voices, or engaging to actively damage or undermine the reputations of the rival or targeted individuals or organizations. Building and managing relationships with those who influence an organization or individual's audiences have a central role in doing public relations. After a public relations practitioner has been working in the field, they accumulate a list of relationships that become an asset, especially for those in media relations. Within each discipline, typical activities include publicity events, speaking opportunities,
press releases A press release is an official statement delivered to members of the news media for the purpose of providing information, an official statement, or making an announcement. A press release is traditionally composed of nine structural elements, inc ...
,
newsletters A ''newsletter'' is a printing, printed or electronic publishing, electronic report containing news concerning the activities of a business or an organization that is sent to its members, customers, employees or other subscribers. Newsletters gene ...

newsletters
,
blog A blog (a truncation In mathematics and computer science, truncation is limiting the number of numerical digit, digits right of the decimal point. Truncation and floor function Truncation of positive real numbers can be done using the floo ...
s,
social media Social media are interactive technologies that facilitate the creation Creation may refer to: Religion * Creation ''ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) ...

social media
, press kits, and outbound communication to members of the press. Video and audio news releases (VNRs and ANRs) are often produced and distributed to TV outlets in hopes they will be used as regular program content.


Audience targeting

A fundamental technique used in public relations is to identify the
target audience A target audience is the intended audience An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an artistic creation of aesthe ...
and to tailor messages that are relevant to each audience. Sometimes the interests of differing audiences and stakeholders common to a public relations effort necessitate the creation of several distinct but complementary messages. These messages however should be relevant to each other, thus creating a consistency to the overall message and theme. Audience targeting tactics are important for public relations practitioners because they face all kinds of problems: low visibility, lack of public understanding, opposition from critics, and insufficient support from funding sources. On the other hand,
stakeholder Stakeholder may refer to: *Stakeholder (corporate), a group, corporate, organization, member, or system that affects or can be affected by an organization's actions *Project stakeholder, a person, group, or organization with an interest in a projec ...
theory identifies people who have a stake in a given institution or issue. All audiences are stakeholders (or presumptive stakeholders), but not all stakeholders are members of a target audience. For example, if a charity commissions a public relations agency to create an advertising campaign to raise money to find a cure for a disease, the
charity Charity may refer to: Giving * Charitable organization or charity, a non-profit organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy and social well-being * Charity (practice), the practice of being benevolent, giving and sharing * Charity (virtu ...
and the people with the disease are stakeholders, but the audience is anyone who is likely to donate money. Public relations experts possess deep skills in media relations, market positioning, and branding. They are powerful agents that help clients deliver clear, unambiguous information to a target audience that matters to them.


The public in public relations

A public is any group whose members have a common interest or common values in a particular subject, such as a political party. Those members would then be considered stakeholders, which are people who have a stake or an interest in an organization or issue that potentially involves the organization or group they're interested in. The Publics in Public Relations are: * ''Traditional Publics'': Groups with which the individual has an ongoing and long-term relationship with, this may include; Employees, Media, Governments, Investors, and Customers * ''Non-Traditional Publics'': Groups that are typically unfamiliar with the organization and the individual has not had a relationship with but may become traditional publics due to changes in the organization, in society or if a group changing event occurs. * ''Latent Publics'': A group whose values have come into contact with the values of the organization but whose members haven't yet realized it; the members of that public are not yet aware of the relationship. * ''Aware Publics'': A group of members who are aware of the existence of a commonality of values or interests with your organization, but have not organized or attempted to respond to that commonality. * ''Intervening Publics'': Any public that helps an individual send a message to another public, could be the media or someone with stature. * ''Primary Publics:'' If a public can directly affect an organization's pursuit of its values-driven goals. This publics would include media, employees, government, shareholder, financial institutions, and the immediate community. * ''Secondary Publics'': Have high interest in the company such as the primary publics but will not be directly affected by decisions of the organization. * ''Internal Publics'': People within an organization * ''External Publics'': People outside of an organization * ''Domestic Publics'': Those within the country * ''International Publics'': Those outsides of the country and when communicating with this publics individuals must be wary of that areas culture, beliefs, values, ethic, and other valuable cultural difference as to not offend anyone. Early literature authored by James Grunig (1978) suggested that publics develop in stages determined by their levels of problem recognition, constraint recognition and involvement in addressing the issue. The theory posited that publics develop in the following stages: * ''Non-Publics:'' Share no issue with an organization. * ''Latent Publics:'' Face an issue but do not recognize it. * ''Apathetic Publics:'' Face an issue but do not care to address it. * ''Aware Publics:'' Face an issue but are unorganized to mobilize against it. * ''Active Publics:'' Face an issue and are organized to respond to it. ----


Messaging

Messaging is the process of creating a consistent story around: a product, person, company, or service. Messaging aims to avoid having readers receive contradictory or confusing information that will instill doubt in their purchasing choices, or other decisions that affect the company. Brands aim to have the same problem statement, industry viewpoint, or brand perception shared across sources and media.


Social media marketing

Digital marketing is the use of
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected s that uses the (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ' that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to ...

Internet
tools and technologies such as
search engines A search engine is a software system that is designed to carry out web searches (Internet searches), which means to search the World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web index for countries in 2014 The World Wide Web (WWW), ...
, Web 2.0 social bookmarking,
new media New media are forms of media that are computational and rely on computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of ...
relations,
blogging A blog (a truncation In mathematics and computer science, truncation is limiting the number of numerical digit, digits right of the decimal point. Truncation and floor function Truncation of positive real numbers can be done using the floo ...

blogging
, and
social media marketing Social media marketing is the use of social media Social media are interactive technologies that facilitate the creation Creation may refer to: Religion * Creation ''ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Cr ...
. Interactive PR allows companies and organizations to disseminate information without relying solely on mainstream publications and communicate directly with the public, customers and prospects. PR practitioners have always relied on the media such as TV, radio, and magazines, to promote their ideas and messages tailored specifically to a target audience. Social media marketing is not only a new way to achieve that goal, it is also a continuation of a strategy that existed for decades. Lister et al. said that "Digital media can be seen as a continuation and extension of a principal or technique that was already in place". Social media platforms enable users to connect with audiences to build brands, increase sales, and drive website traffic. This involves publishing content on social media profiles, engaging with followers, analyzing results, and running social media advertisements. The goal is to produce content that users will share with their social network to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach. Some of the major social media platforms are currently Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. As digital technology has evolved, the methods to measure effective online public relations effectiveness have improved. The Public Relations Society of America, which has been developing PR strategies since 1947, identified 5 steps to measure online public relations effectiveness. # ''Engagement'': Measure the number of people who engaged with an item (social shares, likes and comments). # ''Impressions'': Measure the number of people who may have viewed an item. # ''Items'': Measure any content (blog posts, articles, etc.) that originally appeared as digital media. # ''Mentions'': Measure how many online items mention the brand, organization, or product. # ''Reach'': Measure how far the PR campaign managed to penetrate overall and in terms of a particular audience.


Types of public relations arenas

Publicists can work in a host of different types of business verticals such as entertainment, technology, music, travel, television, food, consumer electronics and more. Many publicists build their career in a specific business space to leverage relationships and contacts. There are different kinds of press strategies for such as B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer). Business to business publicity highlights service providers who provide services and products to other businesses. Business to Consumer publicizes products and services for regular consumers, such as toys, travel, food, entertainment, personal electronics and music.


Other techniques

Litigation public relations is the management of the communication process during the course of any legal dispute or adjudicatory processing so as to affect the outcome or its effect on the client's overall
reputation The reputation of a social entity (a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic by Logical consequence, drawing conclusio ...

reputation
(Haggerty, 2003).


Ethics

Public relations professionals both serve the public's interest and private interests of businesses, associations, non-profit organizations, and governments. This dual obligation gave rise to heated debates among scholars of the discipline and practitioners over its fundamental values. This conflict represents the main ethical predicament of public relations.Kathy Fitzpatrick and Carolyn Bronstein, " Introduction: Towards a Definitional Framework for Responsible Advocacy," in Ethics in Public Relations, Responsible Advocacy, ed. Kathy Fitzpatrick and Carolyn Bronstein (USA: Sage Publications, Inc. 2006), ix. In 2000, the
Public Relations Society of America The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is a nonprofit trade association A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association, sector association or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by bus ...
(PRSA) responded to the controversy by acknowledging in its new code of ethics "advocacy" – for the first time – as a core value of the discipline. The field of public relations is generally highly un-regulated, but many professionals voluntarily adhere to the code of conduct of one or more professional bodies to avoid exposure for ethical violations. The
Chartered Institute of Public Relations The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is a professional body in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' a ...
, the Public Relations Society of America, and The Institute of Public Relations are a few organizations that publish an ethical code. Still, Edelman's 2003 semi-annual trust survey found that only 20 percent of survey respondents from the public believed paid communicators within a company were credible. Individuals in public relations are growing increasingly concerned with their company's marketing practices, questioning whether they agree with the company's social responsibility. They seek more influence over marketing and more of a counseling and policy-making role. On the other hand, individuals in marketing are increasingly interested in incorporating publicity as a tool within the realm marketing. According to Scott Cutlip, the social justification for public relations is the right for an organization to have a fair hearing of their point of view in the public forum, but to obtain such a hearing for their ideas requires a skilled advocate. Marketing and communications strategist, Ira Gostin, believes there is a code of conduct when conducting business and using public relations. Public relations specialists have the ability to influence society. Fact-checking and presenting accurate information is necessary to maintain credibility with employers and clients.


Public Relation Code of Ethics

The Public Relation Student Society of America has established a set of fundamental guidelines that people within the public relations professions should practice and use in their business atmosphere. These values are: * ''Advocacy'': Serving the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for the clientele. This can occur by displaying the marketplace of ideas, facts and viewpoints to aid informed public debate. * ''Honesty'': Standing by the truth and accuracy of all facts in the case and advancing those statements to the public. * ''Expertise'': To become and stay informed of the specialized knowledge needed in the field of Public Relations. Taking that knowledge and improving the field through development, research and education. Meanwhile, professionals also build their understanding, credibility, and relationships to understand various audiences and industries. * ''Independence'': Provide unbiased work to those that are represented while being accountable for all actions. * ''Loyalty'': Stay devoted to the client while remembering that there is a duty to still serve the public interest. * ''Fairness'': Honorably conduct business with any and all clients, employers, competitors, peers, vendors, media and general public. Respecting all opinions and right of free expression.


Spin

Spin has been interpreted historically to mean overt deceit that is meant to manipulate the public, but since the 1990s has shifted to describing a "polishing of the truth." Today, spin refers to providing a certain interpretation of information meant to sway public opinion. Companies may use spin to create the appearance of the company or other events are going in a slightly different direction than they actually are.Safire, William (1996
''The Spinner Spun''
/ref> Within the field of public relations, spin is seen as a derogatory term, interpreted by professionals as meaning blatant deceit and manipulation. Skilled practitioners of spin are sometimes called "spin doctors." In Stuart Ewen's ''PR! A Social History of Spin'', he argues that public relations can be a real menace to democracy as it renders the public discourse powerless. Corporations are able to hire public relations professionals and transmit their messages through the media channels and exercise a huge amount of influence upon the individual who is defenseless against such a powerful force. He claims that public relations is a weapon for capitalist deception and the best way to resist is to become media literate and use critical thinking when interpreting the various mediated messages. According to Jim Hoggan, " public relations is not by definition 'spin'. Public relations is the art of building good relationships. You do that most effectively by earning trust and goodwill among those who are important to you and your business... Spin is to public relations what manipulation is to interpersonal communications. It's a diversion whose primary effect is ultimately to undermine the central goal of building trust and nurturing a good relationship." The techniques of spin include selectively presenting facts and quotes that support ideal positions (
cherry picking Cherry picking, suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position while ignoring a significant portion of related and similar cases or data that ...
), the so-called "
non-denial denial A non-denial denial is a statement that, at first hearing, seems to be a direct, clearcut and unambiguous denial Denial, in ordinary English usage, is asserting that a statement or allegation is not true (which might be accurate or inaccurate). It ...
," phrasing that in a way presumes unproven truths, euphemisms for drawing attention away from items considered distasteful, and ambiguity in public statements. Another spin technique involves careful choice of timing in the release of certain news so it can take advantage of prominent events in the news.


Negative

Negative public relations, also called dark public relations (DPR), 'black hat PR' and in some earlier writing "Black PR", is a process of destroying the target's reputation and/or corporate identity. The objective in DPR is to discredit someone else, who may pose a threat to the client's business or be a political rival. DPR may rely on IT security, industrial espionage, social engineering (security), social engineering and competitive intelligence. Common techniques include using dirty secrets from the target, producing misleading facts to fool a competitor. In politics, a decision to use negative PR is also known as negative campaigning.


T.A.R.E.S.

The T.A.R.E.S. is a five-point test that evaluates ethical persuasion and provides boundaries in persuasive practices. * ''Truthfulness'' (of the message) examples ** Is this communicating something factually true and accurate? ** Does this downplay or diminish evidence? ** Am I creating a false narrative or image? ** Does this influence people to believe something that I do not believe myself? * ''Authenticity'' (of the persuader) examples ** Will people question my honesty or integrity from this? ** Do I truly believe that what is being presented will benefit those who are reading? ** Do I support or advocate in the statement, person, or product? * ''Respect'' (for the persuadee) examples ** Am I presenting statements in self-interest, or do I genuinely care about the issue, person, or product? ** Is this presented to persuadees who are rational, self-thinking beings? ** What ethical responsibility do I hold by presenting this information? * ''Equity'' (of the persuasive appeal) examples ** Is this appeal fair and nondiscriminatory? ** Have I target persuadees who are not capable of understanding the claims and the context? ** Are the statements I present sensitive to various interests, needs, or concerns of the persuadees? * ''Social Responsibility'' (for the common good) examples ** Have I unfairly stereotyped groups of society in my statements or actions? ** Will my statements or actions cause harms to various groups of society? ** Will there be any negative consequences against a group in society based on my statements or actions? ** Have I fairly presented issues that concern groups who may have been underrepresented in society? ** Are the statements or actions that are being communicated responsible to various societal groups, public interest, and the public?


Politics and civil society

In ''Propaganda (book), Propaganda'' (1928), Edward Bernays, Bernays argued that the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democracy. In public relations, lobby groups are created to influence government policy, corporate policy or public opinion, typically in a way that benefits the sponsoring organization. In fact, Bernays stresses that we are in fact dominated in almost every aspect of our lives, by a relatively small number of persons who have mastered the 'mental processes and social patterns of the masses,’ which include our behavior, political and economic spheres or our morals. In theory, each individual chooses his own opinion on behavior and public issues. However, in practice, it is impossible for one to study all variables and approaches of a particular question and come to a conclusion without any external influence. This is the reason why the society has agreed upon an 'invisible government' to interpret on our behalf information and narrow the choice field to a more practical scale. When a lobby group hides its true purpose and support base, it is known as a front group. Front groups are a form of astroturfing, because they intend to sway the public or the government without disclosing their financial connection to corporate or political interests. They create a fake grass-roots movement by giving the appearance of a trusted organization that serves the public, when they actually serve their sponsors. Politicians also employ public relations professionals to help project their views, policies and even personalities to their best advantages.


See also

*
Edward Bernays Edward Louis Bernays ( , ; November 22, 1891 − March 9, 1995) was an American pioneer in the field of public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...
* Brand management * Grassroots * Impression management * List of press release agencies * List of public relations journals * Media intelligence * Media manipulation * Promotion (marketing) * Propaganda * Public relations in India * Publicist * Reputation management


Notes


References


Further reading

* * * * * * Kelleher, T. (2018). ''Public Relations'' (1st ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. * Stoykov, Lubomir (2016). ''Public Relations Management'' (2nd ed.). Sofia: Alma communication. {{DEFAULTSORT:Public Relations Public relations, Communication design Business ethics