Public Relations, Public Affairs, Coffee and Wine


—Thoughts and scribbles.

What is Public Relations?

We’ve been talking a lot about tips for the PR professional, but what exactly is public relations?

You could always look at Rex Harlow‘s definition:

“Public relations is the distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organization and its publics:

  • involves the management of problems or issues:
  • helps management to keep informed on and responsive to public opinion;
  • defines and emphasizes the responsibility of management to serve the public interest;
  • helps management keep abreast of and effectively utilize change, serving as an early warning system to help anticipate trends;
  • and uses research and sound and ethical communication as its principal tools.”

But that’s pretty textbook and, quite frankly, bland. The thing about PR that makes it so hard to define is it encompasses so many different aspects and responsibilities. One day you could be writing tweets, the next pitching a story to the media, and the next managing a full-blown crisis.

That’s why I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite informal definitions of PR:

  1. Public relations is being the most logical person in the room at any given time;
  2. Knowing what to say, how to say it, and who to say it to;
  3. Creative problem solving and tying up the loose ends in a creative way;
  4. And, my absolute favorite: Doing good and getting caught at it.
Samantha LinnettComment