Its come to my attention with the recent and ongoing anti-PR sentiment criss-crossing the country that people are confused about the . In fact, there are people who purposely define themselves as other than public relations when in fact they are in our discipline.
Id like to begin to rectify this situation with the launch of a What is PR? blog series. Im seeking public relations practitioners of any number of years in the profession and with all skill sets to help me sink in and define the very crux of what we do every day.
I was jolted into this idea based on the highly emotional blogs Ive been reading about the , the debacle via blog , and numerous other rants against me and my peers indirectly and generally (many on blog).
To join me on this regular feature Ill unfold over time, please watch for tweets, an email invite, or please send me a note right here, below. Im highly accessible; its part of being in public relations.
Let me share my broad definition of public relations and begin to shed light. Its not the only definition, Im sure, and it can be enhanced with your help; here goes:
There are so many descriptions and titles of what people do in public relations it has become confusing. Ive heard mass communications, marketing communications, corporate communications, marketing public relations, and other descriptors. In fact, a recent Ohio State University graduate insisted he was not in public relations, but everything down to the press release he was doing was exactly PR.
You can be an agency person (my background), work in a corporate setting, get a job at a not-for-profit, in the government sector, or with a non-governmental organization, for example.
Stepping in deeper, a public relations practitioner can become a specialist in a vertical market which defines expertise as health care, medical, pharmaceuticals, financial, publishing, fashion, food/hospitality, manufacturing, utilities, professional services, academia, and the like. Or, he or she can remain a generalist and tap many verticals and industries.
Within these specialties represented by boutique agencies or in-house teams, there are skill sets and competencies defined by editorial/publications, employee relations/ internal communications, financial/investor relations, media relations, industry analyst relations, special events, and more.
Not everyone in the profession has skill sets across the board. The biggest area for argument is media relations; people think just because they dont know how to pitch media and dont like it it means theyre not in public relations. Ive heard folks tell me because theyre in a corporate setting working with internal communications they are not in public relations. This couldnt be farther from the truth; on both accounts.
As said, public relations as a discipline (in addition to marketing and advertising as disciplines) is broad; many competencies exist within public relations, and Ive just touched the tip of the berg for you. Where I wish to set the record straight is for the people who dont realize they are smack in public relations, and for the people who are happy to label themselves something other than PR when in fact theyre delivering this service every day and thinking theyre not. (Why is that, by the way?)
Is anyone else game to help further define public relations and help educate just about everyone? Ive been told were the best-kept secret and our sisters dont even understand what we do or how we integrate with their disciplines. Heck, it took my parents 20 years to understand I wasn’t doing free advertising. Its time to alter negative perception right now because theres a professional crisis of education right now.