So, What does PR really mean?

I’d like to first start with a quick shoutout to anyone reading this from GVSU, Happy #PRwednesday y’all. If you are reading this but not from GVSU, WELCOME!

So, for those who don’t know, ‘PR’ itself stands for ‘public relations’ and I’m sure many people have heard of public relations as a career, but not many people really understand the true meaning and job description of someone in the PR industry.

Recently in the first assignment for my class, I was instructed to give my own definition of PR. In my own words PR is defined as “a career made up of trends. A person with a career in PR is constantly keeping up with whats going on in daily news, on top of every event or story, has to be knowledgeable in many different topics for the purpose of working with a multitude of clients, having to always research and study up on different topics. To me, public relations is more than just a career, it’s a lifestyle.”  The reason I felt like this was a good definition is because in my opinion a career in PR really is a lifestyle. You are vowing to be dedicated to the internet, promising to always be available, and making guarantees to clients that you will get their business on the right track.

Before coming to college and beginning to take classes for my major, I really did not know what public relations entailed. I knew that in certain cases, for instance a celebrity or blogger, PR meant the people sending out products to these bloggers for review in order to get more people hearing about a brand. But that is only such a small part of what PR really is. In my opinion, public relations is a very unique career unlike any other. There are so many aspects and roles to take on in this industry it is hard to ever get bored, one of the special things about PR is the way you build relationships in order to enhance, advance, and benefit the reputations of your many clients’ brands.

After doing some research, I found a few other definitions of public relations from professionals in the field that I want to share with you.  First, PRSA, the public relations society of America, put together a crowdsourcing campaign with intentions to modernize the definition of PR, through public vote, they came up with this: Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics” (PRSA, 2012). I really like and appreciate this definition because it is so modern and easy to understand which benefits me for when people ask me what PR actually is.

I found a great article titled, “Public Relations as Relationship Management“Although the article is from 2000, I wanted to include it because I enjoyed reading their description/definition of Public Relations, it is so relatable for someone studying or working in the PR industry. Ledingham and Bruning state:

Public Relations is a field more often characterized by what it does than what it is. Ask a practitioner to define the field and they’ll likely respond with a list of activities that are included under the rubric of public relations: publicity, press agentry, advertising, event management, media relations, and so on (Ledingham & Bruning, 2000).

This description is so true when it comes to Public Relations. Like I said in the beginning, PR is more than just a career, it’s a lifestyle. There are so many different roles to take on within a career in PR and that’s why I loved this articles description!

One last definition that I want to include is one from an article titled, Public Relations: Made Simple. In the article Jefkins states, “Very plainly, PR is about communicating in order to achieve understanding through knowledge” (Jefkins, 2016).  He goes on to list some of the things PR is capable of and why it is different and much more complex than HR. I liked this description as well because of the simplicity of it. Not to mention, you can use this easy definition next time someone asks you about your career path and you tell them it’s PR, this definition might not help them to understand at all, but it’s a hell of a lot easier and less annoying than listing off all of the things under a PR job description. 🙂

Until next time,

Christina

 

References

Jefkins, F. W. (2016). Public relations made simple. London: Heinemann.

Ledingham, J. A., & Bruning, S. D. (2000). Public relations as relationship management: A relational approach to the study and practice of public relations. Mahwah, N.J: L. Erlbaum.\

PR, the Career I Can’t Explain. (2016, August 11). Retrieved January 18, 2017, from http://webershandwickseattle.com/2012/06/pr-the-career-i-cant-explain/

Yann, A. (n.d.). About Public Relations. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from https://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/publicrelationsdefined/#.WH_VJccfTD1

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