You’ve probably heard the term PR, but do you know what it means? Do you know all the elements that make up effective PR?

If you’ve ever wondered, “what does PR stand for?” then this article is for you. We’ll explain what PR means, and we’ll walk you through the top features of compelling PR strategy.

What Does PR Mean?

PR stands for “Public Relations”. It’s a broad term that refers to all the ways your company interacts with the public and with the news media.

The goal of PR is to create a positive image of your company and its leaders through a combination of news coverage and social media outreach. PR allows you to build a strong relationship with your customers and clients.

PR Meaning in Business

Public Relations refers to the strategic communication processes that organizations use to build and maintain relationships with the public, stakeholders, investors, customers, and the media.

The goal of PR is often to create and uphold a positive image of the company, manage its reputation, and communicate its values, objectives, and achievements to the public and other relevant audiences.

PR activities can include:

  1. Media Relations: Working with the media to publish and distribute news and information about the organization.
  2. Crisis Management: Handling unexpected events or crises that could negatively impact the organization’s reputation.
  3. Event Management: Organizing and managing events to promote the company or its products/services.
  4. Content Creation: Producing and distributing content such as press releases, articles, and social media posts.
  5. Community Relations: Building and maintaining relationships with the local community and relevant interest groups.
  6. Internal Communications: Managing communication within the organization to ensure employees are informed and engaged.

Effective PR helps a company to build trust with its audience, manage its reputation, and can contribute to its overall success and longevity. More on that later.

The 5 Main Activities of PR Strategy

There are five key components to public relations that should all work together to build and improve your company’s reputation.

1. Media Relations

As the name implies, media relations refers to the way you manage the media to secure positive coverage of your company and share exciting updates with your customers.

There are three types of media:

2. Paid Media

Another word for paid media is advertising. This is any promotional piece you buy. It might be a TV commercial, a billboard, or a sponsored article in a business magazine.

You have total control over any paid media because you bought it.

When you purchase space on a billboard, you get to decide what goes on it. The same is true for a TV commercial. You paid for the airtime, so you determine the content.

3. Owned Media

Owned media refers to any channel that you and your company own. Your website is a perfect example of owned media. It belongs to your company, and you can publish any content you want.

Your social media channels are also considered owned media. You write and publish whatever content you want on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

4. Earned Media

Earned media refers to “traditional” news media. Examples of earned media include newspapers, TV news, magazines, and digital publications.

You don’t pay for news coverage. You earn it with your company’s activities, product launches, events, and updates. Earned media is more difficult to obtain because it’s up to a reporter or editor to decide if you’re doing something newsworthy.

The most common way to reach journalists is through a press release. This is a one-or-two page document that highlights something new or different your company is doing.

A press release does not guarantee news coverage, not by a long shot. Journalists receive hundreds of press releases every week, so you need to make sure yours stands out.

There are some pretty common mistakes companies make when they create a news release. You can avoid them by making sure your press release contains the following information:

  • Details of the event – who, what, where, when and why
  • Clear information that avoids industry jargon, misspellings, and grammatical errors
  • A short explanation of why the information in the release is newsworthy and relevant

It takes a skilled, experienced PR strategist to create an effective press release. You have to explain why the information is interesting to people outside your company.

5. Social Media

Your social media channels are a great way to engage with your customers every day. You can share relevant company information with them like product launches, events in their communities, and important updates.

You don’t have to convince a journalist to write your story. You can do it yourself for free. This type of content also helps you reach a larger audience through likes and shares.

It can even help you appear higher in Google search results. More than three billion Google searches are made every day. Ideally, you want your company to show up on the first page of the results.

Even Google executives advise companies to publish relevant content that people want to share. It’s an effective part of your PR strategy that costs you nothing.

6. Crisis Communications

An old cliche says, “there is no such thing as bad PR.”

Yes, there is.

Crisis communications involve your plan to deal with negative news if it happens and how to avoid bad PR in the future.

Your crisis communications strategy should include these elements:

  • An identified spokesperson
  • A workflow to share information with everyone in the company
  • Talking points that are consistent throughout the company to address issues
  • A plan to reach key media outlets

The most well-known case study in crisis communications is Johnson & Johnson’s response to the Tylenol poisonings in the early 1980s that killed seven people. The company was able to weather the tragedy through its rapid, effective response.

Once authorities determined the victims had died after taking poisoned Tylenol, the company immediately recalled its products and even invited TV news crews to shoot video of store employees taking products off the shelves.

7. Reputation and Brand Management

Reputation and brand management are part of your crisis communications plan because they involve the public’s perception of you. They’re also part of your overall PR strategy.

Effective brand management involves consistency in messaging across all media.

It also includes the “look” of your company — your logo, graphics, and color scheme.

They should appear exactly the same on your website, your press releases, and your social media channels.

Your employees should also have a clear understanding of your mission and vision statements. These statements should be readily available, so employees can use consistent messaging when talking about your company.

8. Thought Leadership

Thought leadership is a relatively new addition to public relations strategy. It refers to the establishment of your company’s leaders as subject matter experts.

You want your customers, clients, and stakeholders to find your company credible, believable, and simply better than your competitors.

You can establish your executives’ expertise by placing articles in industry publications under their bylines or securing interviews for them with key news organizations.

8 Common Public Relations Types

In the context of Public Relations (PR), various types of relationships are crucial for an organization’s success, especially in larger companies.

These PR departments can be categorized as follows:

  1. Media Relations: This involves interactions with journalists, bloggers, and influencers in the media industry. The goal is to establish positive relationships to ensure fair and beneficial coverage for the organization. This can include press releases, interviews, press conferences, and media events.
  2. Community Relations: This focuses on building and maintaining a positive relationship with the community in which the organization operates. This can involve sponsoring local events, participating in community service, and engaging in dialogues with community leaders and groups.
  3. Government Relations: Also known as public affairs, this involves interactions with government officials and agencies. It’s about advocating for policies favorable to the organization, complying with regulations, and often participating in public policy discussions.
  4. Investor Relations: This is especially important for publicly traded companies and involves communicating with shareholders and financial stakeholders. It includes sharing information about financial performance, business strategies, and corporate governance.
  5. Customer Relations: This involves managing interactions with customers to build loyalty and satisfaction. This can be through customer service, engagement on social media, and feedback mechanisms.
  6. Employee Relations: Focusing on the relationship with the organization’s employees, this includes internal communications, employee engagement strategies, and maintaining a positive work environment.
  7. Crisis Management: This is about maintaining relationships during adverse events or crises. It involves communicating effectively with all stakeholders to manage and mitigate the impact of the crisis.
  8. Supplier and Partner Relations: This involves maintaining positive relationships with business partners, suppliers, and other external organizations that are integral to the company’s operations.

Each of these relationship types requires a different approach and strategy, but they all are essential for a comprehensive and effective public relations effort. The goal is to build trust, foster positive perceptions, and create mutually beneficial relationships between the organization and its various publics.

PR vs. Marketing

Some companies use the terms public relations and marketing interchangeably, but they’re actually very different. PR increases your company’s exposure to the public and builds its reputation.

Marketing, on the other hand, is designed to improve sales. Paid media is often included in a marketing campaign when it’s designed specifically to boost sales.

Closing Thoughts

Knowing “what does PR mean” is crucial for any successful marketing strategy, as it encompasses the art of managing and enhancing public perception of a brand or organization.

PR plays a pivotal role in shaping a positive image, building strong relationships with key audiences, and effectively communicating a company’s message and values.

By integrating PR into your marketing efforts, you can significantly boost your brand’s visibility and credibility in today’s competitive market.