What Is Public Relations?
Public relations is a huge, multifaceted field. Technically, it's all about communicating with the various “publics” of an organization — customers, shareholders, journalists, editors, government legislators, and the general public. This book is going to focus on the most common application of public relations for a company: generating publicity for its products and services.
The field of public relations originated in the United States where it was initially used to promote the railroad industry. The actual term “public relations” was first seen in the 1897 Year Book of Railway Literature.
Obviously, getting a trade magazine or television show to talk about your product or service is a huge advantage. Publicity is more credible than advertising and other forms of marketing communications. People have a built-in skepticism for promotional materials but will often believe almost anything they read or hear in the press.
Public relations managers in a company spend much of their time building relationships with editors and journalists, and preparing a range of materials to provide information and pitch story ideas to this group.
Typical PR writing projects include:
Public relations managers will also utilize materials produced for other areas of business communications, such as sales brochures and case studies.
Midsized and larger companies often have a public relations manager or department, or they retain a public relations agency. Smaller companies will tend to use an independent PR consultant. Some freelance copywriters provide PR consulting as an additional service to their clients.