“What is PR” to new PR students?

 As a public relations professional and professor, I can sit someone down to define public relations with all the intricacies of reputation and relationship management, industries PR appears in and various potential tactics an organization for implement during a strategic PR campaign.  When I walk into “Introduction to Public Relations” or “Public Relations Writing”, the students sitting before me may not be able to eloquently define our industry or the difference between PR, marketing and advertising.  (Point of reference, PR writing has been taught at our school for many years but introduction to PR is a new course. Intro will eventually be a pre-requisite for writing but is not yet.)

With two groups of students with varying definitions of PR, I took my first day of class to ask them the question:  What is public relations?  The first answer was the typical comment:  “relating to the public”.  While this is true, relating to the various stakeholders is only one piece of the much larger picture of our industry.

In groups of 3, I asked the students to do a “brain dump” of what they think about when we are talking about PR.  Following a 5 minute brainstorming session, I asked each team to send a representative to the board to scribe each teams words.  The following is a list of how new PR students define PR.

What is PR?  (COMM 331: PR Writing – Spring 2016)

  • Relationships
  • Comm Process
  • Advocating/Branding
  • Strategic
  • Public
  • Internal/External
  • Creativity
  • Social
  • Being a contact
  • Being a face
  • Social Media
  • Crisis Management
  • Media Relations
  • Representing a company
  • Building a relationship
  • Telling a story
  • Building a brand
  • Meeting with Investors
  • Awareness of technology and changes
  • Outlet
  • Broadcast
  • Leadership
  • Representative
  • Organization
  • Persuasion
  • Crafters
  • Engagement
  • Evolutionary
  • Culture
  • Transform
  • Reputational
  • Event Planning
  • Hype
  • Pitch
  • Development
  • Publicity
  • Advising
  • Motivating
  • Journalistic Liaisons
  • Brand Management
  • The face of whom you represent
  • Opening line of conversation
  • The channel between public and company
  • Damage control
  • Establishing and maintaining a positive public image for a brand, person, or company
  • Press Statements
  • Spokesperson
  • Mediator
  • Distorted reality
  • Appearance
  • Public Image

What is PR? (COMM 132: Intro to Public Relations – Spring 2016)

  • Positive relationships
  • Communications/Communicating
  • News
  • Different Perspectives
  • Informative advocate to the general public who works toward the benefit of his or her client and/or mutual benefit of target audience when possible
  • Advancing
  • Networking
  • Presentation
  • Organization
  • Promotion
  • Creation
  • Representation
  • Credibility
  • Reporting
  • Social Media
  • Honesty
  • Controlling the message
  • Concise
  • Buffer between company and media
  • Creating the image/face of company
  • Helping to market the brand
  • Middle person between companies
  • Message and media
  • Helping an organization by helping them to develop, maintain and at times protect/save the image they want to convey to the public
  • Public Image
  • Presenting the image
  • Advertising, Marketing (sorta)
  • Event Planning
  • Stories, facts, knowledge, merch, products, of the company
  • Biased to client
  • Promos, events
  • Message
  • Story telling
  • Public
  • Communicating a company’s message to the public
  • Face to company
  • Defend company
  • Handle crisis
  • Link face to public
  • Marketing Journalism

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