Public relations (PR) is about managing reputation. This career field aims to gain understanding and support for clients as well as to influence opinion and behavior.
PR professionals use all forms of media and communication to build, maintain and manage the reputation of their clients. These range from public bodies or services to businesses and voluntary organizations. They communicate key messages, often using third party endorsements, to defined target audiences in order to establish and maintain goodwill and understanding between an organization and its public.
PR professionals monitor publicity and conduct research to find out the concerns and expectations of an organization’s stakeholders. They then report and explain the findings to its management.
A PR professional can be found in both the private and public sectors, from the utility and media sectors to voluntary and not-for-profit organizations. Some PR professionals may be based in consultancies.
The role is varied and will depend on the organization and sector. Tasks often involve:
- Planning, developing and implementing PR strategies
- Liaising with colleagues and key spokespeople
- Liaising with and answering inquiries from media, individuals and other organizations, often via telephone, email and social media
- Researching, writing and distributing press releases to targeted media
- Collating and analyzing media coverage
- Writing and editing in-house magazines, case studies, speeches, articles and annual reports
- Preparing and supervising the production of publicity brochures, handouts, direct mail leaflets, promotional videos, photographs, films and multimedia/social media programs
- Devising and coordinating photo opportunities
- Organizing events including press conferences, exhibitions, open days and press tours
- Maintaining and updating information on the organization’s website
- Sourcing and managing speaking and sponsorship opportunities
- Commissioning market research
- Fostering community relations through events such as open days and through involvement in community initiatives
- Managing the PR aspect of a potential crisis situation
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