What Is Public Relations?

Public relations is the process of communicating with stakeholders to promote a product or service. Public relations professionals often write press releases, communicate with the media and carry out market research.


A strong PR team is essential to keeping all stakeholders connected and engaged. This can include local news, radio, television and internet information sources.

Brand Management

Managing brand perception is a major function of PR. It involves communicating with the media about your company, its products and services to influence how people perceive you. The purpose is to generate positive perceptions that counteract negative ones. This is achieved by generating publicity through newsworthy activities like hosting science fairs, supporting local community causes, or establishing scholarship programs.

PR professionals also work to establish relationships with the media and writers who routinely cover your industry and product category. They are responsible for alerting these organizations when news occurs that they might be interested in covering. Sometimes PR even creates their own newsworthy activities such as launching an annual report or publishing a white paper that provides deeper information on an industry topic.

Branding and public relations are both important for your small business. However, you should understand the order of these two processes. Developing your brand must come first before engaging in public relations, advertising and marketing activities or they will be ineffective and a waste of resources.

Though your brand is always present in PR, it’s not necessarily the priority. For example, if your company has a crisis, your PR team will prioritize managing it and the public’s perception of your company rather than sending out press releases about a new product launch. This is because the press release will only reach a fraction of your audience.

Crisis Management

A PR crisis can be the worst nightmare for a business, but it doesn’t have to be. Public relations professionals specialize in helping companies navigate these turbulences by creating and testing plans for what to do in the event of a crisis. These plans are designed to create a structure for communicating with internal and external stakeholders during times of distress.

Typically, the first step in a crisis management plan is to assess the situation. This involves gathering all the relevant information about what has happened, who was involved, and how serious the problem is. Once a full assessment is made, the next step is to act. This could involve calling an all-hands meeting, responding to immediate media inquiries, or drafting communications to customers and other stakeholders.

Once the crisis is in full swing, it’s important to communicate with your audience in a way that is honest and respectful. It’s also important to acknowledge the problem as soon as possible, as this can help to defuse tension online and prevent it from getting out of hand.

Finally, be sure to follow up on your communication plan. Using a media intelligence platform, like Brand24, can help you track sentiment by keyword and audience to see how your response is being received. This will give you insight into what people are saying about your brand and how to improve your future communications.

Influencer Marketing

Traditionally, public relations and influencer marketing have been different processes. PR involves building connections between a brand and various media outlets in order to spread news and information about a product or service. Influencer marketing, on the other hand, involves engaging social media influencers to promote a brand or product. However, both strategies are geared towards the same goal: increasing brand awareness and gaining a larger fanbase.

Whether they’re sharing their thoughts on products, highlighting their favorite features, or introducing the brand to new audiences, influencers can take a company’s reach to the next level. This makes them a great tool to use in the case of a PR crisis, as they can help companies communicate their message in an authentic way that will resonate with audiences.

For example, tech brand Logitech partnered with Instagram influencer Sawyer Hartman to create a sponsored review of their tablet, which received over 8K views. The content was so well-received that it helped the brand overcome a PR crisis and come out looking good.

While both public relations and influencer marketing have their own distinct advantages, it’s important for businesses to realize that they should work together to achieve business goals. PR agencies can help with identifying top-performing influencers, and pairing them up for campaigns that will be mutually beneficial. These partnerships will allow both the PR list and the influencer team to grow, as they continue to produce results that benefit the company.

Media Relations

Media relations is a specific subset of public relations that emphasizes the building of relationships with journalists and other media organizations. This often includes distributing news releases to the media and attending press conferences for the purpose of promoting a company or product.

While PR is centered on finding the story, media relations takes that story and broadcasts it to the appropriate audiences. The right article about a new product or service can catapult a brand into an industry leader and, more importantly, generate traction for sales.

The challenge in media relations is that the media cannot be controlled. Regardless of how much an organization may pay to promote something in the media, the news outlet has ultimate control over whether it is published and what angle is taken on the story. Because of this, a public relations professional must be organized but highly flexible in working with the media.

In addition to media relations, the PR department must be able to manage the image of the company and its brands. This often involves ensuring that customers, employees, financial stakeholders or investors, and communities have a positive disposition toward the organization. It also involves ensuring that the organization has a consistent and credible approach to dealing with issues and problems that arise. This is a very difficult thing to do, especially when dealing with large and complicated issues that affect entire populations.