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Old Thursday, October 30, 2008
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PR

The main goal of a public relations department is to enhance a company’s reputation. Staff that work in public relations, or as it is commonly known, PR, are skilled publicists. They are able to present a company or individual to the world in the best light. The role of a public relations department can be seen as a reputation protector.

Role of PR:

Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics. Public relations often referred to as PR gains an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. Because public relations places exposure in credible third-party outlets, it offers a third-party legitimacy that advertising does not have. Common activities include speaking at conferences, winning industry awards, working with the press, and employee communication.

PR can be used to build rapport with employees, customers, investors, voters, or the general public. Almost any organization that has a stake in how it is portrayed in the public arena employs some level of public relations. A number of specialties exist within the field of public relations, such as Media Relations.

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) claimed in 1988: “Public relations help an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other." According to the PRSA, the essential functions of public relations include research, planning, communications dialogue and evaluation.”
Edward Louis Bernays, who is considered the founding father of modern public relations along with Ivy Lee, in the early 1900s defined public relations as a management function which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures and interests of an organization.

PR tools:
• Publicity events, pseudo-events, photo ops or publicity stunts

• The talk show circuit. A PR spokesperson (or his/her client) "does the circuit" by being interviewed on television and radio talk shows with audiences that the client wishes to reach.

• Books and other writings

• After a PR practitioner has been working in the field for a while, he or she accumulates a list of contacts in the media and elsewhere in the public affairs sphere. This "Rolodex" becomes a prized asset, and job announcements sometimes even ask for candidates with an existing Rolodex, especially those in the media relations area of PR.

• Direct communication (carrying messages directly to constituents, rather than through the mass media) with, e.g., newsletters – in print and e-letters.

• Collateral literature, traditionally in print and now predominantly as web sites.

• Speeches to constituent groups and professional organizations; receptions; seminars, and other events; personal appearances.

• Interactive PR incorporate all forms of communication

Nature of the work:

An organization’s reputation, profitability, and even its continued existence can depend on the degree to which its targeted “publics” support its goals and policies. Public relations specialists also referred to as communications specialists and media specialists, among other titles serve as advocates for businesses, nonprofit associations, universities, hospitals, and other organizations, and build and maintain positive relationships with the public. As managers recognize the importance of good public relations to the success of their organizations, they increasingly rely on public relations specialists for advice on the strategy and policy of such programs.

Public relations specialists handle organizational functions such as media, community, consumer, industry, and governmental relations; political campaigns; interest-group representation; conflict mediation; and employee and investor relations. They do more than “tell the organization’s story.” They must understand the attitudes and concerns of community, consumer, employee, and public interest groups and establish and maintain cooperative relationships with them and with representatives from print and broadcast journalism.

Public relations specialists draft press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine articles start at the desks of public relations specialists. Sometimes the subject is an organization and its policies toward its employees or its role in the community. Often the subject is a public issue, such as health, energy, or the environment, and what an organization does to advance that issue.

Public relations specialists also arrange and conduct programs to keep up contact between organization representatives and the public. For example, they set up speaking engagements and often prepare speeches for company officials. These media specialists represent employers at community projects; make film, slide, or other visual presentations at meetings and school assemblies; and plan conventions.

In addition, they are responsible for preparing annual reports and writing proposals for various projects.In government, public relations specialists who may be called press secretaries, information officers, public affairs specialists, or communication specialists keep the public informed about the activities of agencies and officials.In large organizations, the key public relations executive, who often is a vice president, may develop overall plans and policies with other executives. In addition, public relations departments employ public relations specialists to write, research, prepare materials, maintain contacts, and respond to inquiries.

People who handle publicity for an individual or who direct public relations for a small organization may deal with all aspects of the job. They contact people, plan and research, and prepare materials for distribution. They also may handle advertising or sales promotion work to support marketing efforts.

PR officer:

Public relation officer have professional use of several tools. Major roles are Officer Find or create favorable news about the company and its products or people. Sometime news stories occur naturally, and some times its products or peoples relation person can suggest events or activities that would create news.

Public Relations or (PR) Officers use all forms of media to promote, build and maintain an organization’s image and reputation. Reputation and image are based on what an organization does, what an organization says and what others say about it. PR aims to manage reputation in order to gain understanding and support, and to influence opinion and behavior.

PR officers can work for voluntary organizations, public bodies and businesses any organization that has a reputation to manage. PR officers can work in an organization’s in-house public relations department or in a consultancy where they serve a number of clients. Public relations overlaps with other fields including corporate communications, public affairs, investor relations, or media relations so PR officers may be known by various other job titles depending on the employer.

Program planning:
Analyzing problems and opportunities; defining goals; recommending and planning activities and measuring results; liaising with management and clients throughout.
Writing and editing:
since public relations often involves trying to reach large groups of people, the method most often used is the printed word. PR officers work on shareholder reports, annual reports, press releases, articles and features, speeches, booklets, newsletters.
Media relations:
Developing and maintaining a good working contact with the media. This involves applying knowledge of how local and national papers, magazines, radio and television work as well as the special interests of journalists.
Corporate identity:
developing and maintaining an organization’s identity via corporate advertising, presenting the company's name and reputation rather than its products.
Speaking:
communicating effectively with individuals and groups at events ranging from small meetings to presentations, speeches, trade fairs, and other special events.
Production:
brochures, reports, film and multi-media programs are important means of communication. PR officers also coordinate studio or location photography.
Special events:
news conferences, exhibitions, facility celebrations, open days, competitions and award programs are all used to gain the attention of specific groups. PR officers are often called on to plan and execute large events for their companies or clients.
Research and evaluation:
the first activity undertaken by a public relations practitioner is usually analysis and fact gathering. A PR programs should be evaluated as a continuing process and measurement is used to decide future strategy
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Promotion:
Promotion keeps the product in the minds of the customer and helps stimulate demand for the product. Promotion involves ongoing advertising and publicity .The ongoing activities of advertising, sales and public relations are often considered aspects of promotions.

Marketing:
Marketing is the wide range of activities involved in making sure that you're continuing to meet the needs of your customers and getting value in return. Marketing is usually focused on one product or service. Thus, a marketing plan for one product might be very different than that for another product. Marketing activities include "inbound marketing," such as market research to find out. for example, what groups of potential customers exist, what their needs are, which of those needs you can meet, how you should meet them, etc.

Publicity:
Publicity is mention in the media. Organizations usually have little control over the message in the media, at least, not as they do in advertising. Regarding publicity, reporters and writers decide what will be said.

Sales:
Sales involves most or many of the following activities, including cultivating prospective buyers or leads in a market segment, conveying the features, advantages and benefits of a product or service to the lead, and closing the sale.
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