As with most things in the world, the advancement of technology has impacted the traditional role that public relations has played and its impact on business. The Public Relations Society of America defines public relations as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” For many, many years public relations was defined by one of its most important tools, the press release, and the release was seen by the public only after news organizations distributed them. Now companies are able to take advantage of social media platforms such Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the like, to inform and educate “stakeholders” on a variety of topics related to their business. This helps to build a more fluid and dynamic relationship between buyers and sellers, or organizations and audiences.
As the definition of public relations has expanded over the years and become more integrated, businesses need to understand how to leverage this greater scope into a strategy that can make them more successful.
In the August 21, 2015 issue of The Business Journals, contributor Rose McKinney, founder of Pineapple RM, a Minneapolis-based communications firm says, “Without a broader definition of public relations, the effort and outcomes will be anything less than strategic and effective.” McKinney goes on to emphasize the key role management plays in communicating messages to the public that tie in the company’s “mission, values, and policies” with “understanding, acceptance, and action.” The organizations that seek input from public relations counsel early in the process have the greatest chance of getting it right. Public relations blends into media relations by sharing these messages and stories with the media who can then target specific audiences and share information.
In the article, McKinney reminds us that public relations does not end with media relations. The word ‘relations’ connects with other terms such as “community relations, investor relations, and human relations,” she says. And furthermore, “These relations are the foundation for informed decision making, understanding, support and loyalty.” McKinney says the best public relations experts are able to “communicate with myriad audiences across multiple channels using numerous tactics.”
As PR experts continue to craft the perfect press releases, let’s not forget to embrace all the “relations” we can impact when communicating across all the platforms we have at our fingertips.