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What is public relations?

By Lisa Goldsberry

3891755_sGain a better understanding of how PR can help drive profitability


Everyone seems to have their own definitions and perceptions of public relations and what it does. Some see it as a blessing in disguise; others, a necessary evil.


According to the Public Relations Society of America, PR is “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics,” but this can mean different things for different companies. Once you understand more about the field of PR, the importance of PR firms and how all this can advance your mission, you will see how it affects your profitability.

Understanding PR

The role and function of PR has grown and evolved over the years. Practicing public relations today involves basically managing the flow of information from your company to your target audiences. This can include the news media, prospects, government officials, customers and other leaders in your industry.


With help from PR, your company can increase visibility, which is a crucial part of doing business. After all, people have to be aware of your product before they can purchase it.


PR professionals work to inform the public about your company, promote your products and services and persuade potential customers that your business is worth their attention. They accomplish this by building relationships and helping you maintain connections with the media and the public.


Some of the many duties that fall under the PR umbrella include writing press releases and creating campaigns to garner media attention, managing your image and reputation on various social media platforms, crisis communications, helping to position you and your brand as a leader in your industry and ensuring that you have the right spokesperson representing your company.


Perhaps one of the best explanations of PR comes from S.H. Simmons: “If I tell you that I’m great, that’s advertising. If I tell you that you’re great, that’s marketing. If someone else tells you that I’m great, that’s PR.”


What roles can PR perform in your organization?

  • Counseling top management about the public implications or consequences of various programs and initiatives

  • Generating positive news coverage about your company and its objectives to encourage favorable public perception and better credibility

  • Monitoring public opinions and trends that could have an effect on your company

  • Creating and implementing unique campaigns designed to increase your exposure and reputation for consumers at each level of the sales cycle

  • Training your spokesperson to be ready for any situation

  • Producing a crisis plan and managing your crisis communications

  • Managing social media and consumer outreach programs

  • Developing a content management process to ensure that your company’s key messages reach the right audiences

  • Telling your company’s story to the media and public to foster understanding, build relationships and distinguish yourself from the competition

  • Helping with your corporate social responsibility program to demonstrate community engagement

  • Measuring the effectiveness of promotion and engagement strategies

The benefits of a PR firm

Studies have shown that PR is more cost-effective and long-lasting than other outreach methods. Still, it’s a huge undertaking and it can be difficult to manage alone. Often, even your in-house PR operation may not be able to handle it all. Hiring a PR firm can help relieve some of the burden.


You can trust the professionals at Axia to help you craft the right messages, using the best platforms, for maximum visibility. Contact us today or register for our 60-Second Impact to find out how we can improve your bottom line.

Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter @axiapr.


For more information about how PR firms work with the media, please read this

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Topics: public relations

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