What is Public Relations? Does Anybody Know?

When I signed up to take Public Relations this semester, I really did not know what Public Relations was. I could not have defined what it was if I tried. Now that we are finishing the semester and the class is almost over, I have learned a lot about the profession and what PR professionals do, however, I still don’t think that I could come up with a definition of what PR is. Well, it makes me happy that I am not the only person that struggles with the question “What is public relations,” but I think that I have come up with a few main points to being succesful in the world of PR.

Without understanding who you are trying to communicate a message to, your message will never have its intended impact. You must understand how the public thinks, feels, and reacts to specific messages. If you can do think, coming up with PR schemes and such will be much easier and more successful.

There is not one specific correct way to become good at pubic relations. In order to be good at public relations, being able to connect with the public through many different outlet like pictures, television, movies, social media, and many more, is a key attribute.

  • Make the best out of the situation

PR professional are thrown into many different situation and told simply to make it work or to fix it. That is a pretty generic job description. However, this is expected in the business. In order to be successful, have an open mind, listen to ideas, and have a positive attitude and making the best out of any situation will be possible.

Despite learning these things in class, I don’t think I can or anyone else can give a good enough definition to public relations to give the job jusitice. However, if I had to give it my best shot I would say that public relations is the interaction, interpretation, and  communication between a source and the public.

PR; A Common Misconception

                Public relations in my opinion is all about supporting and protecting your businesses and organizations. I definitely feel that PR has a bad rep according to a lot of the public, but I don’t necessarily believe this is true. After reading Fitzpatrick’s, Ethics in PR, she stated that “well-funded front group practices tend to monopolize the marketplace and diminish other voices, limiting access to the marketplace ideas and interfering with citizens’ and/or policymakers’ access to info needed to help them reach informed decisions about issues or policies of public interest and concern” (14). However, in my opinion, I’ve realized that front groups are not always trying to lie about their products or companies. For example, Generation Green is normally trying to show the public that it’s necessary to recycle, and eat foods that do not have pesticides. They’re not trying to bash non-organic foods or non-recyclers; they’re just trying to give positive suggestions and explanations to keep their public safe. There’s always just that basic stereotype that when someone hears PR, most think, “Oh they’re liars.” It’s also not fair to judge PR because a lot of the time, the professional is trying to dig their client out of the hole that they buried themselves into. It’s not always easy. Being a PR professional can be very chaotic. People need to realize that PR is not all about lying. They’re trying to help maintain a positive outlook on what they’re representing.

The Future of PR

5) Offer three ways you think technology will be part of public relations work in the future. Is it going mobile? Virtual? In this response, account for the troubled state of newspapers and offer a few prediction about the PR jobs of the future

Today’s public relations is already much different than it was even a year ago. These days, almost everyone has a smart phone. With these devices, users can access the internet almost anywhere, whenever they want. It is of much more greater importance for organizations or individuals to maintain an online reputation, as this is how most individuals obtain information.

In the future, one way I believe technology will be a part of public relations is through mobile devices such as smart phones. Public Relations professionals will have to dedicate a lot more of their efforts to the online community rather than print or other traditional methods of communication.

Another method of communication that public relations representatives have to pay attention to his social networking. I can see social media platforms extending outside of the realm of Facebook or Twitter, and becoming a major part of the online community and public relations. Many online users look to social networking sites for more than just networking. They use them to find information about their favorite celebrities, get updates on news events, or find information. One article writes that, “PR professionals use social media every single day to get the word out about clients, to communicate with customers and to respond to questions or problems”. I can only see this trend continuing in the future.

Because public relations is trending to focus on an online community, it is likely that print newspapers and magazine will become obsolete. Already, magazine and newspapers have begun to provide their content in an online medium. Many household are actually stopping their newspaper subscriptions and get their information from the television or online news sources.

PR: In it for the long haul

Technology has shown that it is going nowhere and it is only going to keep evolving and showing continued progress. How can we deny that it will affect everything we do? This includes public relations. The public relations world will be just like the rest of the world and will continue to adapt to technology as it continues to change the way we live.

Some ways that I feel this is going to happen is through the continued use of social media’s. Social media’s have impacted the way we use public relations forever. We no longer have to wait for the paper in the morning or the evening news. When something happens and there is information to be shared, it can be found almost instantly on Facebook or Twitter.

Another direction that public relations is headed is also the continued use of search engines. Google is obviously leading the world in that department. However, is it that far off to say that individual businesses and companies may not have their own search engines to making finding information even easier for consumers and employees?

Finally I feel that public relations is going to excel in the coming years through decreasing newspapers and relying more on the web and mobile usage. From an economic stand point, by cutting down on newspaper printing and relying online, it is more efficient and it will save costs. From the outlook of someone who will be searching for news and information, technology has made the decision for us. With smart phones, Ipads, and laptops it’s almost impossible to assume that in the future these are only going to become more normally and soon everyone will have some version of one of these.

Public Relations will always have a place in the world because people are always going to want the latest news and information about everything. It is our choice as a society to steer it in the direction that will allow for everyone to be on the same page.