How to explain public relations

By: Lauren Houck

Having to explain to family and friends who ask what I’m going to school for is something I’ve gotten used to, and having to explain what exactly public relations is, is also something I have gotten used to doing. If you are like me, you had to think about how to explain what exactly public relations is. It’s hard to define because of the many roles we take on as practitioners, and how many different jobs are available to us after we graduate.

Here are a few tips to explaining what PR is, and what types of jobs we can acquire with a degree in PR.

Public relations is building relationships with consumers, investors, media, and other businesses along with telling their clients’ stories. PR incorporates advertising, marketing, journalism, communication, and business all into one amazing field that is used to grow businesses and investments in any company where PR is done well. PR practitioners use social media to engage with consumers and other businesses, and we use blogging to tell stories, along with building relationships with the media to get media hits on our client.

So what types of jobs are we qualified for as public relations practitioners? Along with the typical public relations agency, there are many different types of jobs that we are qualified for by studying public relations. Here are a few:





Love them or hate them, politics are everywhere, especially in the midst of a presidential election. Regardless of your political party preference, politics seem to be creeping into every conversation lately. By studying public relations we can write speeches for politicians, plan fundraiser events, prep a politician for the media, write press releases, or run an entire campaign. The opportunities are endless when you are involved with politics because even on off years of the election, there are always local and state government officials that need public relations.



Source: photo by Lauren Houck


If you prefer to focus on one task at a time rather than having multiple clients/assignments at once, working the corporate life is most likely the best fit for you. Working in corporate you only have one client all day, every day, which allows you to focus more attention on that client and meeting their needs. A corporate position also allows you to travel more and has potential to move up in the company.



Source: EMU PRSSA Facebook


Many millennials dream of the agency life right after graduation due to the fast-paced style of work. While at an agency, you will work with numerous clients each day and be dealing with different tasks each day. You could spend your morning at an event live tweeting and your evening writing press releases and pitching them to the media for a completely different client. You must be able to manage time well to work in an agency, and be resourceful when it comes to research. In all areas of PR, be a mass consumer of media to be well-rounded in everything that’s going on around you. 

With all of the above, there are limitless options for what type of PR work you do within the agency or the corporate setting. Wherever the road of public relations takes you, be sure to always love the work you do. If you truly love your job it will never feel like work.

Lauren Houck is a senior at EMU studying public relations and minoring in communication. Lauren enjoys meeting new people, learning different perspectives, and building relationships with people. Lauren loves traveling and will go on an adventure whenever the opportunity arises. 








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