What is public relations?
There are as many different definitions of public relations as there are public relations professionals. No two public relations jobs are the same. Public relations, as defined by PRSA, “is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” At its core, public relations is about influencing, engaging and building a relationship with key stakeholders to contribute to the way an organization is perceived.
What do public relations professionals do?
Spanning a variety of industries and organizational settings, today’s public relations professionals use many different communications and marketing disciplines to offer critical insights, develop differentiated positioning and deliver an organization’s message across multiple channels. As a management function, public relations includes anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, counseling management, developing programs that inform public understanding; and planning and implementing an organization’s efforts to influence or change public policy.
As the line between marketing and public relations continues to blur, public relations executives now lead areas traditionally owned by marketing, and are continuing to expand job responsibilities through the rise of brand journalism, integrated marketing communications and sophisticated community management platforms.
Numerous resources are available to help you learn about public relations. On the PRSA Jobcenter, you can view a current Salary Survey. For those new to the field, PR Quickstart is a free, web-based training program that gives a basic overview of public relations and the public relations agency business. Looking for case studies, a campaign planning framework or research advice? Check out the APR Study Guide (PDF).
Public Relations Education Resources
These sources of recommended reading can help you better understand current educational offerings for careers in public relations and the different paths to entering the field.
Why PR: What Motivates You? (Video)
- The Commission on Public Relations Education website
- Where To Study Public Relations
- Plank Center Research Library
In addition to PRSA and PRSSA, these organizations have useful resources for those pursuing public relations careers:
- Council of Public Relations Firms
- Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management
- The Institute for Public Relations
- International Association of Business Communicators
- National Investor Relations Institute
- The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations
- Public Relations Consultants Association
- Public Relations Network