When people ask the question “what exactly are the components of public relations?” they can often get very wishy-washy, nebulous answers.
Depending on context, public relations can mean very different things. But the truth is there are some hard and fast components that go into public relations both as a profession and a service.
This article will discuss what are the components of public relations as it relates to public relations (PR), and the ingredients that make up the recipe of effective PR.
PR is not a degree.
Or rather, it’s more than just a major you can get a degree in.
PR is the practice of developing the communication skill of communicating with the general public, distributing the written or spoken word, and interpreting the thoughts and ideas in relation to the purpose or function of the public.
There are many types of PR including media relations, branding, product launches, event management, political consulting, and brand reputation.
There are also many variations of each PR method. For example, it can be television ads, magazine ads, press releases, website content, or public relations (PR) consulting.
While PR is a skill, it is not considered a skill like, say, dance or acting.
That is to say, a talent has to be developed before that talent is used in an audition, an audition has to be conducted before a performance can take place, and all of this requires time and practice.
Public relations is different.
A skill requires practice, practice, practice.
The same is true with a talent. Anyone can be a natural at a talent, but it’s not enough to simply be natural.
You must be real. You must have passion and you must put in time and practice before you can do something amazing.
There are so many facets of public relations that aspiring professionals who happen to have a talent like public speaking, copywriting, or branding creativity may think they have everything they need to effectively provide PR services.
It takes far more than one or even multiple talents in isolation to yield effective results, however!
In PR, this is what is referred to as “in demand.” To be an effective public relations professional requires either one of two things: passion or “in demand.”
It’s not enough to be knowledgeable about the subject of your work. You must be passionate. For example, it’s not enough for a PR professional to have all the knowledge about corporate social responsibility.
If that PR professional does not have a genuine passion for sustainability and environmental efforts, then he or she will not be successful.
One of the more common mistakes that new PR professionals make is not understanding the difference between human resources and public relations.
Both are important; however, PR needs to be done by someone who has the appropriate skill set.
The hiring decision should not be based solely on how many years of experience the PR professional has in the discipline, but instead the skill set and skills needed to succeed in the discipline.
Specific to the PR profession, there are three basic skill sets: the arts, sciences, and management.
The PR professionals that have the artistic skill set (i.e. communication, creativity, vision, creative writing, etc.) are those who are creating the messaging and positioning.
The PR professionals who have a STEM background (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) are those who are doing the data gathering, analyzing, and reporting.
The PR professionals with management skills (i.e. organizational, business, economics, finance, accounting, etc.) are those who are designing, directing, and managing the resources.
When I read an article about a company looking for a PR professional, there are two names that always come to mind: “artists” and “scientists.” You could read an article about a company wanting to hire an MBA and you’d still see the same name, “artists.”
There is a greater correlation between those in the PR profession who have skills in the arts, sciences, and management.
The skills that distinguish the PR professionals are the same skills that distinguish those in the PR industry from others in the organization.
While I could write a 10-thousand-word article about what public relations professionals should know, there is only one thing that the PR professionals can do with all of this information: better their craft.
There is a correlation between being more knowledgeable and being more effective in your field.
The same holds true for public relations professionals.
If you are reading this article, then you know more than most.
You may even be an effective public relations professional. The question is, are you continuing to get better?