What is PR?

Sometimes understanding the concept of what public relations is can be very confusing. While not fully understanding what PR is, it can be difficult to know what type of careers can be attained with the major.

Source: Spin Sucks

Source: Spin Sucks

According to the Collins English Dictionary, public relations is defined as “the practice of creating, promoting or maintaining goodwill and a favorable image among the public towards an institution, public body etc.”

In laymen terms: you make other people look good.

Depending on the level of experience in PR, a person can do up to any or all of the activities below in their job description:

  • Press releases
  • Create and publish newsletters
  • Plan story angles and events
  • Write speeches
  • Strategize the best time to announce new products
  • Work alongside an advertising agency to position products in the mind of the public
  • Coordinate social networking groups

PR is all about representation and pitch work. You are branding a company or person with a good image, selling that image to vendors to promote their publicity, and maintaining that positive image through the client’s ups and downs in society. A publicist represents their client to the public eye; by doing this most of the day is spent working with the media. Good skills that push you forward in the field include:

  • Communication
  • Articulation (written and spoken word)
  • Good comprehension ability
  • Confidence
  • Learn quickly
  • Think quickly
  • Persuasion

If you are a shy person you may want to rethink your major. You NEED to be very outgoing when associating with others and representing your client. Shy and timid people fade into the background of the field because of their inability to be assertive and approach the public with authority.

When studying the field of PR, there are many job types that you can explore. Below is a list of PR fields and jobs for that field.

  • Publicist-Manage the publicity of a public figure
    • Press representative- Provides information to the media such as upcoming public events, interview opportunities, and promotional dates, and will work with the media in getting in touch with an appropriate client or resource
    • Public relations publicist – Manages the public image of a client or a work of art such as a film.
    • Special publicity consultant-Arranges for public appearances, prepares and edits publications, keeps up with trends and current group interests, and responds to various requests from the media.
    • Unit publicist – Brings attention to the production phase of making a film or other work of art by organizing media kits, sending out press releases, and arranging media visits to the production.
    • Media agent – Liaises between the interviewee and publications or TV to ‘sell’ their story.
    • Corporate Spokesperson-Speaks to the public on others behalf
    • Copywriter- Writes the text of advertisements or publicity material
    • Scriptwriter-Writes scripts for plays, movie, broadcast…
    • Photographer/Videographer-professional who takes pictures or records moving images/sound

These are just some of the many careers that can be attained with a PR major. Which career interests you most? If you want to do more research on a specific career or find other careers for your major visit www.mymajors.com.

Gabrielle Burgess-Smith
Vice President of Public Relations
EMU PRSSA
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