For how public the public relations industry should be, it’s more private than you’d think. After all, if you hear someone say they’re, “in public relations,” do you know what they mean?

Cops, construction workers, actors, their job descriptions are in the title. Not public relations. Due to its ambiguity, there are common misconceptions about the public relations industry.

Public relations experts don’t buy advertisements. They promote their clients to the best of their ability. They do so with strategy and execution, not bribery.

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If you’ve been wondering what public relations is, continue reading. Here are three things everyone should know about the public relations industry.

Ok, So What is Public Relations Then?

Public relations is the business of manipulating the public’s perception. No, not in a brainwashing way, in a conversive way.

Think of the public relations industry as a mediator in a conversation. This conversation takes place between large businesses or public figures and the general population.

Public relations isn’t only about promotion. It’s also about providing the public with what they want.

The public is busy. We all have jobs, families, our desires. Who has time to examine every single product and find out if it’s right for us?

Public relations specialists are storytellers. They tell us what we need to know about companies and products.

For example, who wants to research what the best refrigerator is? Or find out the physics behind an engineering technique a specific car company uses? Wouldn’t you instead take the company’s word for it?

Public relations experts build companies’ reputations. They do so so we aren’t stressed at three am deciding which toaster to buy. We buy from who we trust.

Is it Different from Advertising?

Advertising is the paid part of the media. A company that runs an ad campaign has no guarantee it generates the publicity it wants.

Public relations is the earned reputation part of advertising. It doesn’t stop at advertising, either. It creates meaningful symbiotic relationships.

Public relations stories have more credibility than paid advertisements because they are independent and unsolicited.

Creating the Story

A successful PR agency uses the news as the most common form of public relations storytelling. Think of how often you see the new iPhone make the news.

Having Apple products on the news doesn’t appear to be advertising. But the news story creates the perception that the ads we see on TV are sincere. It says, “it’s ok to believe the hype.”

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Other ways to create a news story include devising a relevant study or survey. These studies are most useful for large companies who have equally large PR teams. These companies would partner with a University or research team.

Think of drug companies and the FDA. You may not equate hearing, “studies have shown XYZ,” as public relations, but it is.

The Public Relations Industry is All About Image

The public relations industry is about creating an image with storytelling. Public relations storytelling includes news stories, charity events, or magazine articles.

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