PR ON THE GO June 5, 2022

What the Heck Is Public Relations?

Explain Like I'm 5

To help you understand Public Relations in simple terms, we asked PR managers and business leaders this question for their best insights. From corporate communication with anybody to relationship building, there are several meanings to the practice of Public Relations that throw light on the broad functions of PR in an organization.

Here are expert responses to “What the heck is Public Relations?”:

Making Friends

Emily Reynolds Bergh, Founder of R Public Relations Firm

"Not a complicated answer to this one! My definition of public relations is making friends in the world and then (fingers crossed) having them talk about how great you are to other friends. It’s that simple—it’s fostering relationships."


Chandra Gore, Publicist & Principal Consultant of Chandra Gore Consulting

"Public Relations is the relationship between the consumer/client/audience and an individual, company, or organization. Think of PR as the outreach or amplification of your message or brand. The process of controlling how your brand or company appears to your audience is greatly influenced by your strategic communications or public relations efforts. Please note that Public Relations is not Marketing. PR and Marketing are best friends who work together to keep your message cohesive."


Evan Nierman, CEO and Founder of Red Banyan

"Public relations is the business of persuasion. In a nutshell, PR is the business of advocacy. Public relations involves the promotion of ideas, the purchase of products and the support and celebration of accomplishments.

PR firms use storytelling to advance a specific agenda, and if done well, can control the narrative so the storyline slants in their client’s favor."

PR ON THE GO Media Lists: Carefully curated journalist contacts and verified email addresses.

A Lost Art of Communication

Lisha Dunlap, Chandler Gilbert Community College

"PR is an art that is making a comeback. In a world that is losing its ability to properly communicate, good PR pros are finding new ways to use these old skills. Think beyond press releases; being great at relating to the public and media can elevate your social media and help you better talk to a new audience that is craving authenticity. PR skips the sales pitch, instead providing relevant, relatable content and should be implemented in all facets of true communication."

The Process of Networking With The Media

Arusik Ghambaryan, Viralmango

"Public relations is the process of networking with journalists to get your clients featured in journals. A public relations expert keeps constant communication between the brand and the public while building and maintaining its positive reputation. However, with the rise of social media like Instagram and Twitter, the traditional interpretation of PR has changed by adopting some features from Influencer marketing."

Managing Information Flows

Mary Donne, Mary Donne Media

"Public Relations – ‘PR’ - is the practice of managing the spread of information between an organization and the public. It is the process of creating, managing, and executing a plan to promote positive awareness of an organization or individual. PR efforts may seek to generate positive or negative perceptions, which can be useful for an organization or individual in achieving specific goals.

The goal of PR is to create a favorable reputation for an individual or organization. Some people say that PR can also stand for ‘Positive Reputation’. This can be done through positive messaging, image management, and crisis communication. A favorable reputation can help with recruiting new employees, securing investment funding, and increasing sales."

Relationship Building

Masha Mahdavi, SEM Dynamics

"Public relations is a strategy for building relationships with the public and media, as well as with other businesses, in order to increase awareness, reputation, and sales. PR is also a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. Public relations professionals communicate with their audiences via various channels and methods such as print, broadcast, digital/online media, direct mail, social media, events and personal interactions."

Build A Reputation

Kevin Miller, Digital Marketing expert

"Public Relations are the collective efforts of an organization to build a reputation through strategic relationships with journalists and media. The purpose of Public Relations for a business is to craft and share news, achievements, intentions, and other information with the general public. Today, Public Relations is blending together with Digital Marketing strategies because online companies can use press coverage to help grow their businesses’ revenue and reach."

Earning Trust

Amy Roberts, VP of Communications + Client Services at KNB Communications

"Public relations is essentially the art of creating, managing, and (sometimes) correcting a company’s reputation. This is most often accomplished by securing media coverage that positively reflects a company’s image, but really, any statement made to the public is a form of public relations.. Examples can include press releases, social media posts, newsletters, public speaking engagements, and business or trade events.

Public relations is not paid or monetarily secured, rather, it’s earned with the trust and relationships PR professionals are dedicated to fostering."


Lindsey Groepper, president of B2B SaaS PR firm BLASTmedia

"PR is really 'perception relations' when done right. It has the ability to create trust, credibility and authority. It's not about creating news, but creating a consistent narrative that speaks to a desired audience and influences perception."

Crafting Your Story

Tami Belt, Owner at Blue Cube Marketing Solutions

"Everyone has a story. Public Relations is the strategic crafting of your story, your message. Publicity is the result of your story being placed in front of your target audience through social, print and electronic media. Public Relations goes beyond telling your story to engage your desired audience in conversations. It's about connecting and building relationships. Finally, you do not own your brand, it is a perception in someone’s mind. Public Relations helps shape the perception of your brand through the stories you tell."

Become Better Known

Holly Clifford Corral, CEO at PRESS PR + Marketing

"Public Relations is all about storytelling and relationship-building. As PR professionals, we help brands build a reputation and become better known to the world. Take a cookie brand for example: without PR, that cookie brand is just a company selling cookies. With a little positive news coverage, that company can become reputable for its philanthropy, known for its fun personality or recognizable by its brand alone.. PR makes it possible to share information through news sources to better define a brand. We give publications a story to tell and they give us coverage and help amplify that story across many mediums. It’s a third party, objective point of view."

Credibility On The Internet

Altimese Nichole, CEO & Founder at The Ezer Agency

"Public relations gives you credibility on the internet beyond your website. So, when customers Google your company, public relations help them to connect with the mission through outlets their familiar with in a positive way."

A Way To Make People Famous

Kirby Wilkerson, PR Strategist + Founder at The Impact Kind

"PR is a way to make people and products famous by telling stories that make other people want to buy whatever they're selling."

Provide Transparency

Carson Kunnen, Publicist at Baker Publishing Group

"Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds relationships between an audience and an organization. Although public relations is often thought of in the form of a lengthy press conference, edited speech, or as a way to "cover up" a corporate disaster -- the practice is actually dedicated to delivering transparent, honest, and ethical communication."

Attract Investors

Tim Parker, Director of Marketing at Syntax Integration

"According to my experience, the primary goal of public relations is to recruit investors. When seeking funds from investors, a public relations approach is quite beneficial. The correct media placement and timing can be used to make venture capitalists or equity investors aware of your offering. Because public relations is focused with building reputation, it gives investors more reason to assume you're a lucrative investment option."

Exposing The Gold

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan, M.Sc., Growth Expert at

"Imagine a can with gold inside it, but its tin is rusty. Or it looks like any other average can. People will never assume is gold inside it. Well, because people make first-impression decisions on the value of everything: PR is creating a nice and shiny tin for yourself / your company so that when people (the public) first discover it, they quickly understand it is something special, unique and valuable. They understand there is gold inside. And therefore, they will treat it with special care and respect, not with the negligence that humans treat average things."

Educational Worth

Michael Hess, eCommerce Strategy Lead at Code Signing Store

"From my perspective, the primary goal of public relations is to educate the public. One of the most essential benefits of public relations is education. It's all about creating value and sharing educational content with the public about brands, products, and services that may actually assist with problem-solving. For example, thought leadership is one approach used by public relations to inform the public about the knowledge of authoritarian figures. Consumers can make more informed selections with this type of information."

Public Relationships

Alexi McKinley, CEO & Founder at Upwest Social Agency

"The heartbeat of Public Relations is Public Relationships. It doesn't matter what you think of your brand - it matters what the public thinks of your brand. PR helps build the trust, authority, and credibility that is the necessary foundation for a solid brand reputation."

Santa’s Workshop

Ankur Goyal, Head of Growth at Coterie

"Public relations is like Santa’s workshop. Everyone knows who Santa is, but he can’t do all of the work by himself. Sometimes, he has to send helpers to talk to people, asking what they want for gifts and explaining how Santa’s sled flies. Without the workshop, only a few people would know Santa because he can’t be everywhere all the time. Public relations workers do the same thing for brands and famous people; they teach many people about the brand and show it in a positive light."

Messages That Stick

Matt Weidle, Business Development Manager at Buyer's Guide

"It is the art of delivering your organization's message to the right audience at the right time and in the right location. With the development of tools and technologies, we can now quantify the worth of such efforts and how they fit into a company's broader objective."

To Get Noticed In A Positive Way

Daniele Dufour, Founder & Principal at D. Communications

"Public Relations consists of all the things you can do to get other people to notice you in a positive way. Successful Public Relations will result in influencing other people’s opinion to achieve certain objectives such as improving your sales or your reputation, or making sure people are aware of something important. Most of the time, when you see someone in the news, on social media or in an ad, it is likely as part of a PR campaign."

Has Your Back

Sam Browne, Founder & CEO of HARO SEO

"Public Relations is your best friend who wants nothing but the best for you. This best friend is responsible for managing how people perceive you so that you appear friendlier to other people. When you appear friendlier, you can have more friends as a result. This will help you establish connections with them, which will be fruitful later on. Think of this best friend as an angel sent from the skies—he/she will have your back when it comes to keeping your favorable public image to different friend groups."

It's Getting The Cool Kids To Endorse Your Matter

Ksenia Ponka, PR & Marketing Consultant

"Imagine that you have a favorite toy. Let's pick up a car, for example. You love automobiles, know leading brands and watch the races. You want to share these feelings and play with friends, but they have only dolls and horses. What shall you do? Of course, you will show them your toy car and explain why you love it so much. But they are not interested. Then, you probably tell friends more about the racing thrill, when the speed is so high that nobody can reach you, and the engine roars, giving the feel of freedom. And it can take you to Disneyland as well! Still, no interest. They are playing with their dolls and horses. Now, you suggest joining the game with your car. Image - you say - how the car can compete with the pony on the road. Let's figure out who will be the first? And with the passenger? Because dolls can sit inside to have a ride as well. A new level of entertainment! Your friends got interested but were not convinced. Here is the moment when you invite your friend, Eddie. He is famous in your playground. Everybody knows Eddie and wants to hang out with him, but he always seems beyond silly games. Your friends are impressed that you know him. Meanwhile, he tells them that he was also playing with other toys before discovering the cars' coolness. Now he plays with elder kids. Moreover, he spends lots of time with his dad, obsessed with automobiles, so they get closer. All of that thanks to a toy car you have. Eddie also mentions the unforgettable moment he had while choosing his toy from plenty of affordable models in the store and then unpacked it back home. Here you say that you know where your mum buys toys, so you have a discount as a loyal customer. And you can ask her to share the deal with their moms so that you all will play together tomorrow. Friends are excited, as they will have 3-in-1: a new toy, a new game, and new friends. Wo-hoo! This is what PR specialists do: they explain to others the benefits of a product or a service, find out necessary channels, provide relevant stories, invite influencers and propose new experiences to get you satisfied."

Tell Your Story To As Many Different People As Possible

Rachel Brockway, Director of Client Services at Convey Communications

"Public relations is helping people and companies tell their stories in as many different ways to as many different people as possible. We help share all the good things they are doing. This can be on the television, in a newspaper or magazine, online or on social media. Some examples of the types of stories we communicate include updates about a new person joining the company or getting a promotion, volunteer work ordonations in the community, scholarships, fundraisers, or news about funding they have received to do bigger and better things."

Making Things Desirable

Cynthia Lesly, CEO at Dreamweaver Brand Communications

"I make things popular for a living. I make products and services easy to understand and desirable to own or use. I give them what is called a USP( a unique selling proposition) that makes the media write about them and readers want to know more about the product or service."

A Business Driver

Alvin Jordan, Director, Communications Public Affairs at Global Strategy Group

"To put it simply, public relations is a strategic business driver. It takes the four media types — paid, earned, shared, and owned — and blends them together to cultivate both authority and trust. Unfortunately, in 2022 PR is presumed to be many things; however, many things it is not. Contrary to popular belief, public relations is still not advertising, nor is it marketing! With today’s 24-hour news cycle and the growth of social media, more people are accustomed to hearing the term ‘publicist’ in pop culture and perhaps even more familiar with the magazine, TV, newspaper, and website coverage their often task with influencing. But this too, is not what public relations truly is. What public relations is now and should always be is a communications plan of attack (never, ever lacking in STRATEGY) that enables a brand, individual, or company to build, protect and/or manage its image: essentially affecting how the publicsees and ultimately feels about them."

Powerful Magic

Andrea Mane, SVP of Strategic Marketing for PROVision Partners

"Public Relations is a marketing role that focuses on securing favorable third-party earned (unpaid) endorsements from media and other influencers for your product and/or company that presents it in a highly credible way not possible through direct (paid) advertising or promotion. It sounds simple, but after 30 years in PR, my grown children still don’t understand exactly what I do or how I do it—but that, in its essence, is the magic and mystery of PR. For those that get it and know how to do it well, it’s the most powerful tool in a marketer’s arsenal."

Giving You The Details

Rahul Vij, CEO at WebSpero Solutions

"In the simplest form, public relations is like a school goer telling their best friend everything about themselves. For example: What is their favorite cookie, which cartoon they like the most, what food they hate, what things make mum angry etc. In the same manner, when businesses convey to their customers, fresh audiences, shareholders, and board of directors about their goals and aspirations, where they see their company in the next 5 or 10 years, the revenues they incurred, the projects that didn't work out, the losses faced, the new markets they are going to explore in future, etc. is what comprises PR. In addition, Keeping updated about the business, interacting with the audience, building and maintaining the trust amongst the customers, thereby enhancing business visibility and value is what PR is."

Spreading The News

Michelle Devani, Founder of lovedevani

"In my experience as a founder, I see how public relations provide a great influence on the success of the company. From the word itself, it is having a good relationship with the public. Public relations is basically about managing how others feel about you. It is about maintaining your brand reputation by spreading the news about the company. This is what we see on social media, in newspapers, and in columns, where the company provides information about its activities and achievements such as conducting green activities, supporting a group of people, and sharing positive responses towards such issues."

Attracting People To Your Lemonade Stand

Omer Reiner, licensed Realtor & president of FL Cash Home Buyers, LLC

"You want to sell lemonade, but the problem is no one even knows you are selling lemonade. Therefore, very few people will come. You may tell friends and they will tell others, but only a few more people will come. If you tell someone who talks with everyone, you will get as many people as possible to buy lemonade. Public relations is telling the person who talks with everyone that my client has something to sell, much like your lemonade."

People Wanting To Get To Know You Better

Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls

"Public Relations or PR for short is how you get noticed and attract attention in a good way so people know and think about you regularly, like you and want to get to know you better. It helps you stand out so people remember you and tell other people about you too. PR is a way for adults to make more friends and help people solve their problems. It’s a great way to learn about new people and things that can improve your life."

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