The Basic Tools of Public Relations

By Jeff Ballif, Intern (@jeffballif)

While studying public relations in college, it seemed as though the definition of PR and what practitioners do was set-in-stone. Research, write press releases, more research, pitch to the media, etcetera. But since I’ve been working with and meeting various professionals, I’ve found out that the public relations industry is multifaceted. There are almost as many types of PR as there are types of businesses!

When I realized how many types of PR there really are, I thought that there must accordingly be some kind of specialization for each of the areas of expertise. So I looked into it to find out if this was the case. I asked some friends and colleagues about their individual experiences in their respective PR fields.

What I found is that although there are some variances based on specialization, public relations has a basic set of tools that are used throughout the industry. Research is the great equalizer among PR specialties; nobody can expect to practice PR without doing a large amount of research.

Writing is another one of the most important implements. Writing goes into nearly every aspect of public relations, regardless of the emphasis. Knowing how to write clearly and precisely is paramount.

Pitching is one more of the tools necessary to PR professionals. The pitching process is the legs of a media outreach campaign. Means of communication vary by journalist, but whether via e-mail or telephone, pitching is commonplace in any field of public relations.

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