Back to basics: defining public relations

I’ve spent a few months on the job hunt, looking for that perfect fit. Over several interviews, I’ve discovered that there’s a lot of misunderstanding out there about the definition/role of public relations. Some are looking for a media relations guru, others want ‘a great writer, who loves to write’, a strategic genius or a social media expert. All of these things are tools or descriptions of a candidate’s strengths/abilities.

Whether you operate in a government, corporate or non-profit government, PR is about identifying, building, maintaining and measuring mutually beneficial relationships with individuals and organizations (stakeholders). Stakeholders include groups and people that your organization needs to interact with to operate successfully, including those who may want or need to know about what you do.

The key to the mutually beneficial part of the relationship is to build consensus using the two-way symmetrical communications model.

How and what you do to get your message out is secondary to knowing where you stand, figuring out what your stakeholders expect and implementing the tools and tactics to build and measure those relationships.


About signinblack

PR specialist good at what I do, but with a regular-sized ego. Inspired by the human condition, politics, philosophy, good books, craft, technology and people with integrity.
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