What is public relations?

Public relations is the art of discussions and connections. It’s a conversation directly with people or indirectly through the media. At best it’s a persuasive discussion that benefits all parties, at worst it’s manipulative and self-serving. Of course the key to any good discussion and meaningful connection is listening, especially within social media.

But all that said, some clients think only of media relations when they think of PR. Of course this limited PR view is shortsighted since PR is a much bigger part of the marketing mix by way of event management, government relations, influencer relations, internal comms, investor relations, issues/crisis management, research, and the latest addition to the PR mix, social media.

Certainly media relations is a critical element due to the tremendous influence of the media. However, given the variety of audiences that include analysts, investors, employees, customers, suppliers and legislators, connecting with any of these stakeholders requires the right voice at the correct time using the proper medium. And to this end the intranet and Yammer can be better internal comms tools for employees, and a customer event can build personal biz relationships more effectively than a great print hit.

Of course these internal and B2B relationships benefit from positive discussions both online and offline since the art of persuasion begins by understanding who matters most and how to effectively engage them in ways most important to them.

Whether it’s a positive article in newspapers, or great discussions on influential blogs, or when an analyst, celebrity or some other influencer endorses your brand, these types of third-party support are gold.

Engaging people in ways best suited to them regardless of the medium and getting them to say they like your brand, this is the essence of what makes PR such an effective and powerful communications tool.

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