What Is Public Relations (PR)?

The Public Relations Society of America defines public relations as a tool to foster understanding between parties. Public relations professionals work to help their client establish a favorable connection with a certain target audience. Continue reading for more information about this profession. Schools offering Public Relations degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Public Relations

Public relations (PR) creates and protects the public image of a client. Clients may include businesses, nonprofit organizations, issue advocacy groups or individuals, and the image may be of a product, issue, the company as a whole or an individual. The 'public' in public relations can be any group, from society as a whole down to a specifically targeted community, such as potential donors to a charity, company stockholders, customers or government officials, says the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

The practice of PR is to manage the relationship between the public and the client. PR professionals promote the client's image and agenda. They shape the client's communications to craft a message and image that the public will react favorably to.

Important Facts About Public Relations Specialists

Median Salary (2014) $55,680
Entry-level Education Bachelor's degree
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 12%
Work Environment Office setting, occasional travel
Similar Occupations Advertising sales agents, marketing managers, fundraising managers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Public Relations Profession

The broad duty of public relations firms is garnering favorable publicity, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This publicity may be free, through media coverage of arranged or staged events, or publicity can be purchased as advertising for the client. Advertising and public relations are often grouped together, since advertising is a type of PR.

When a client receives unfavorable publicity, or the public's perception of the client is not what the client wishes to project, PR professionals go into damage control. They try to minimize the damage done by the poor publicity, and they turn a potentially negative situation around to reshape public opinion and create a more favorable view of the client.

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