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July 6, 2016

What is Public Relations?

Many entrepreneurs are dedicating much of their budget to PR. Photo credit: Stuart Miles

Often, people believe that public relations is when businesses interact with the media through news stories and press releases. It’s actually the entire relationship between the company and the public through media, newsletters, public appearances, press releases, the company’s website and social media.

History of PR

The roots of public relations and early forms of communications management are thought to have begun in Iraq where stone tablets praised the benefits of new farming practices. In the pyramids, heiroglyphics often depicted the Pharoah’s accomplishments. While those are some ancient examples of PR, the roots of the current public relations we know today was started in the 15th century when people discovered the printing press, which replaced handwritten text.
Another change of the face of PR came from the addition of radio and theaters then television. Most textbooks claim that the founding of public relations came about in 1900, but its roots are much deeper than that.

Difference Between PR and Media Relations

Public relations agencies often take on media relations as one part of their strategy to garner attention for a company. It’s often the first step, or the foundation, of a solid campaign to gain coverage and attention. A company starts with a television, radio or newspaper story reported by a third-party like a journalist. The agency then takes that story and expands on it through other channels like websites and social media.

Media Relations and the Press Release

Companies can’t wait for journalists to call them for an interview. A public relations firm will contact journalists with a relevant press release. It’s a piece of content created specifically for journalists, and has all the information they need to craft their own story. It’ll include facts about the company and interesting tidbits essential for the story. Unfortunately, journalists are bombarded with advertorials and pieces that are not compelling. A firm experienced with media relations will know how to bring that information to life for a specific journalist.

Public Relations and the Internet

A company doesn’t have to rely on media to tell its story like in years past. They don’t have to rely on journalists to filter their story to the public. Through a PR firm, businesses are taking advantage of the huge opportunities available online like social media platforms. Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat or Periscope are just a few platforms that offer companies a way to interact directly with the public.

More information about public relations including the full history and the future of PR can be found here: