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What is Public Relations (PR)?

You’ve probably heard of PR or public relations before. Most likely, you’ve come across the term when something a brand does gets described as ‘bad PR’. Have you ever stopped to really think about what public relations is, though?

If the answer’s ‘no’, you’re not alone. It’s one of those buzzwords that everyone assumes they understand. Few, though, stop to genuinely consider what it entails. So, let’s remedy that now. Read on, and you’ll learn what public relations is, what it encompasses, and why it’s vital.  

Defining Public Relations

Public relations is something of a catch-all. It refers to everything a brand does to raise awareness among a broader audience. Advertising or marketing promotes a specific product or aspect of the firm’s operation. PR, meanwhile, is about boosting overall brand reputation.

There are many different targets for a business’s PR activities. They may be trying to raise their profile with any or all of the following:

  • Existing customers

  • Prospective customers

  • Vendors

  • Suppliers

  • Influencers

  • Government

  • Employees 

Aspects of Public Relations

As PR is such a general field, there are many different avenues a brand can explore. The following are five aspects of public relations that businesses often engage with. 

1. Media relations.

Many firms cultivate relationships with journalists or media outlets. That gives them a channel by which to share news or information about the business. Typically shared info includes product launches, high-profile hires, and customer case studies

2. Sponsorships.

Entering into commercial sponsorship arrangements is another common PR technique. Companies may choose to sponsor a sports team, organization, or event. They pay their partners as part of the deal and enjoy heightened name recognition. 

3. Community engagement.

In these ever more socially responsible times, community engagement is also vital to good PR. Brands that get involved with local causes get viewed more positively by the public. For instance, a telemedicine provider might support a local health charity or facility. 

4. Events.

Special events like trade shows or conferences can also play an essential role in public relations. Large brands may host their own to establish them as authorities in their field. Smaller companies are more likely to attend existing events.

In the Covid-19 era, of course, event management is trickier. Brands are continually innovating, however. Today they may offer online learning courses or run virtual seminars in place of the in-person alternatives. 

5. Internal communications.

Clear communication within an organization is also essential to good PR. Employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders must get kept up to date on vital business news. This can occur through email, newsletters, or meetings. 

Vendors and suppliers, for instance, must get told about new product lines. Marketing pros need to understand new campaigns. Service reps should get sent customer review examples to learn what consumers do and don’t like. 

Why Good PR Matters

Your brand reputation is vital to your success. In the age of social media and 24/7 connectivity, bad press about your business can spread like wildfire. That’s why public relations is critical for firms, big and small, online and offline. 

Managing your PR well is what gives you a good name with the public at large. That increases your ability to gain new customers. Not only that, it makes people less likely to believe any negative things that may get shared about you. 

If you build your brand with effective public relations, too, it can help reduce marketing and sales costs. Those businesses with the highest public profiles, after all, don’t need to spend as much. Their PR has already done the heavy lifting. It's convinced consumers of the trustworthiness of the brand and quality of products.      


In business, as in life, appearances are critical. The public perception of your brand can affect your results as much as your products and customer service quality. Robust, intelligent public relations help you to bolster those perceptions. 

Now that you know what PR’s all about, all that’s left is to find the right way to make it work for your firm.

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