Public relations (PR)

Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organization) and the public. PR may include an organization or individual gaining exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. This differentiates it from advertising as a form of marketing communications. PR is the idea of creating coverage for clients for free, rather than marketing or advertising. An example of good public relations would be generating an article featuring a client, rather than paying for the client to be advertised next to the article. The aim of public relations is to inform the public, prospective customers, investors, partners, employees, and other stakeholders and ultimately persuade them to maintain a positive or favorable view about the organization, its leadership, products, or political decisions.

public relations
public relations

Public relations professionals typically work for PR and marketing firms, businesses and companies, government, and public officials as PIOs and nongovernmental organizations, and nonprofit organizations. Jobs central to public relations include account coordinator, account executive, account supervisor, and media relations manager. Public relation is an action of convincing people. The PR person talks with others that make them think about the things the person wants them to think, and the people regard the person as their believes. PR helps people to build up the connection to media and society that they can talk steadily.



Public relations is not a phenomenon of the twentieth century, but rather has historical roots. Most textbooks consider the establishment of the Publicity Bureau in 1900 to be the founding of the public relations profession. However, academics have found early forms of public influence and communications management in ancient civilizations, during the settling of the New World and during the movement to abolish slavery in England. Basil Clark is considered the founder of public relations in the United Kingdom for his establishment of Editorial Services in 1924.

Propaganda was used by the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and others to rally for domestic support and demonize enemies during the World Wars, which led to more sophisticated commercial publicity efforts as public relations talent entered the private sector. Most historians believe public relations became established first in the US by Ivy Lee or Edward Bernays, then spread internationally. Many American companies with PR departments spread the practice to Europe when they created European subsidiaries as a result of the Marshall plan.

The second half of the 1900s is considered the professional development building era of public relations. Trade associations, PR news magazines, international PR agencies, and academic principles for the profession were established. In the early 2000s, press release services began offering social media press releases. The Cluetrain Manifesto, which predicted the effect of social media in 1999, was controversial in its time, but by 2006, the effect of social media and new internet technologies became broadly accepted.


Public relations professionals present the face of an organization or individual, usually to articulate its objectives and official views on issues of relevance, primarily to the media. Public relations contributes to the way an organization is perceived by influencing the media and maintaining relationships with stakeholders. According to Dr. Jacquie L’Etang from Queen Margaret University, public relations professionals can be viewed as “discourse workers specializing in communication and the presentation of argument and employing rhetorical strategies to achieve managerial aims.”[30]

Specific public relations disciplines include:

  • Financial public relations – communicating financial results and business strategy
  • Consumer/lifestyle public relations – gaining publicity for a particular product or service
  • Crisis communication – responding in a crisis
  • Internal communications – communicating within the company itself
  • Government relations – engaging government departments to influence public policy
  • Media relations – a public relations function that involves building and maintaining close relationships with the news media so that they can sell and promote a business.
  • Celebrity public relations− promotion of a celebrity to various media publications and outlets
  • In-house public relations — maintaining communication between entertainment networks/production companies and the media
  • Food-centric relations – communicating specific information centered on foods, beverages and wine.