Public relations, or PR, is a world where the public interest is at the forefront. Whether it is a public relations specialist helping a company improve its public image or an individual helping to get a candidate into office, the outcome of any campaign or event is determined by the public relations strategy adopted. This is where the difference lies between a good PR strategy and one that fails. Poor public relations strategies will not produce satisfactory results. The public doesn’t need to know what’s happening at the moment. They’ll have to focus on the present. A good public relations strategy, on the other hand ensures that the public is present at all times. Public interest is not neutralized and always serves the benefit of the entire public.
So, that is a broad, philosophical description of what a public relations agency does, at a broadest level. Let’s now discuss what a professional in public relations does. In general, a public relations specialist gathers and disseminates information and takes care of any public information requests that come their way. Public relations specialists also ensure that public figures are well-respected by news agencies and other media organizations. Public figures can include politicians, athletes, talk show hosts, etc. Usually, a public relations specialist manages or oversees the PR campaigns of these public figures.
A third aspect of public relation that’s not as philosophical is the work of the agency when it is requested to perform investigative work on a newspaper or magazine. Sometimes this type of newsgathering is referred to as “behind the scene” work. This type of media coverage sometimes requires the services of a PR firm because the reporters and other media personalities don’t want to be bothered with all the public relations and press releases. In this case, the agency would handle all of the PR work, making sure that the story is well-kept, the facts are accurate, and that the target audience receives the correct message.
Sometimes, a public relations agency is called to represent a company, celebrity, politician or athlete against defamation suits or attack advertisements. The company’s reputation will be at risk in this instance, so the public relations agency must do all it can to protect it before the court of opinion. Media personalities can sometimes get themselves into hot water, especially if they react negatively to a negative piece of news. The same goes for sports teams, business people, bands and musicians.
A public relations agency may also be called upon to defend a public figure who has been accused of sexual harassment or other criminal activity. In this situation, the PR firm may have to create a number of social media strategies and public statements in defense of the person. The firm may also have to make available certain information about the situation, perhaps compiling a list of sexual harassing incidents that have come up in recent weeks, months or days. The statements could be made on social media, in press releases and on company websites.
Another type of public relations function that many PR agencies perform is that of media liaison, meaning that they work with other entities such as newspapers, radio stations and television stations to get news out about a specific company, organization or person. It could include creating press releases and personal correspondences. An PR firm might be able to post news about new products or services on the shelves of stores at the exact same time it goes public. This liaison can also be used to maintain celebrity reputations.
A public relations agency often writes articles for newspapers and magazines that need to be publicized. They are usually written by independent writers contracted by a professional agency. The agency writes articles that are specifically geared toward that product, and they then place them online at various article directories. A PR agency can increase website traffic by placing informative articles on the internet if they are placed in the right context. An experienced PR company will know how to find keywords that can be used to attract attention to products.
When it comes to social media, there are not many limits to what can be written and published about a business or organization. A public relations agency can post press releases and commentaries on a company’s brand or business to Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. Blogs are the same. A PR firm can write blogs that are relevant to the business and then post links to the company’s website or Facebook page whenever they find it interesting to do so. This helps to promote the brand and keep the public informed about upcoming events and trends.