Posted: Tue, Sep 6, 11 in Topics of the Week (COMM 2322)

Public relations: the management of communication between a corporation and its public.

Public relations is closely related to journalism, marketing, and advertising. But even though these all have things in common with public relations, there are distinct differences between them.

Public relations practitioners write. Journalists write. Both of them also interview people, write in a certain journalistic style and are trained to produce good copy by deadlines. This doesn’t mean that we can just tie the two occupations together and call them one in the same. Journalists use their writing skills to write primarily for mass audiences, and these mass audiences are not always well defined. For example, a journalist on a daily newspaper will write for the general public, while public relations professionals divide their audiences based on demographics.

Public relations and marketing both ensure and organization’s success and economic survival. They both deal with an organization’s relationships and use similar skills to communicate to the public. Their differences? Public relations deal with building relationships and generated goodwill for the organization. Marketing is just concerned with customers and selling products and services. They don’t really seem the same anymore.

Public relations and advertising have many differences also. Even though they both use mass media to display their messages, their forms are different. Advertising works almost exclusively through mass media outlets while public relations will rely on many different communication tools, including brochures, special events, speeches, news releases, feature stories and so on. Advertising’s primary functions are just to sell goods and services, while public relations’ function is to create a milieu where an organization can thrive in complex and competitive environments.

So public relations does have a lot in common with journalism, marketing and advertising, but they are not the same. Public relations deals with things that not every journalist, marketer or advertiser can deal with. Public relations is a career all in itself.


*Information from “think public relations”


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