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Understanding What Public Relations Actually Is

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PR is all about those lightbulb moments

PR is all about those lightbulb moments

I realized on a recent trip to Florida that most people don’t really understand the function of Public Relations.  This came about as I had to explain my job as a publicist to some elderly companions celebrating my great-uncle’s 85th birthday.

The quick answer I generally give is, “I help people with something to promote promote it.”

That’s actually a terrible answer and doesn’t really do me much service with respect to getting people to actually understand what Public Relations is and why it’s important.

PR, as defined by Wikipedia, is “the practice of managing the flow of information between and organization and its publics.”

That’s a junk definition (not that mine was better), so I’m going to break it down a bit more thoroughly.

The function of Public Relations, regardless of the niche–doesn’t matter if it’s Music PR, Fashion PR, Book PR, PR PR, whatever–is to make sure a client’s newsworthy product or service is made known to the public via all possible media outlets.

As glamorized as PR has become through Samantha Jones and that  Lizzie Grubman MTV “reality” show, there’s a lot of work and innovation that goes into a successful PR campaign, and into being a successful publicist.

Between establishing a campaign that will ensure the highest degree of success, there’s also maintaining relationships with media professionals, networking (whether it’s on Twitter at an event or otherwise), and general maintenance, someone working in PR is working constantly.  PR would be a different beast if it were just three martini lunches and two-cheek kisses; the fact of the matter is there is always a new angle or a new contact to reach out to, so there is always work to be done.

My re-defined definition of what I do may be a little wordier, but I think it better encompasses what someone working in Lifestyle PR actually does: I represent a wide variety of clients and work to make sure that the right people are talking to and about them in a positive way.  Publicists are communicators, figuring out the most effective way to let people know what they need to know, and then doing it as efficiently as possible.

Jackie for AMP PR

One of Odwyer’s Top 15 Beauty and Fashion PR Agencies 2017


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