What do public relations specialists do anyway?

The past couple of years has proved the value of public relations specialists, specifically the need to stay meaningfully connected and the benefit of remaining top-of-mind. That awareness has led to new relationships with several clients as well as strengthening relationships with those who have worked with us for years.

There’s a running joke in our industry that our own families don’t know exactly what we do. It’s not meant to be a mystery, but public relations specialists are notoriously bad about relaying their craft. As we interview new candidates or communicate with potential clients, we often find ourselves discussing the nuts and bolts, the ins and outs, the foundations of our work in public relations.

And we realized, many people in the public don’t really have a clue what we actually do. So what exactly do we do, as PR specialists?

Here’s a short list of what public relations specialists do:

We help you communicate to your target audience.

That’s a bit broad, so let’s drill down: We are trained writers and communicators, and we write to communicate what you need to be explained to the different audiences you serve. We work with the media through news releases, media alerts and news conferences to provide information for stories about your brand. We collaborate with web developers to craft the messaging on your website. And we coordinate social media through digital research to highlight you to your followers.

We craft a positive, truthful image of you for your audiences.

Public relations specialists work with clients to find their strengths, and we communicate those strengths truthfully to your audiences. And no, PR is not spin.

We often might uncover areas for improvement in our work as well, but we’ll then work to turn those into strengths as we progress in our relationship. We are neutral in our delivery of your news, but we present your best foot forward in every communication we craft.

Public relations specialists are your business partners.

We look at your business holistically – thinking about how your different target audiences might interpret or perceive your movements. And we craft messaging for each audience to tie their perceptions back to your core strengths and brand. Each message is crafted for the intended audience – what will work for a board presentation won’t stand out on social media.

We’re digital brainpower.

Today, business begins and ends online. PR specialists also are adept at navigating SEO research, search engine results and much more across the digital landscape to make sure your communication plan fully integrates digitally to maximize your presence in a virtual world.

But what are a PR specialist’s skills?
Ok, ok, but what can you tell people we actually do, when sitting at a dinner party or talking with our parents?

Here’s our PR skillset

  • We’re excellent communicators. We can give a speech or write a speech. Whatever you need.
  • We’re great at relationships. We can help you navigate the world of earned media, or we can help introduce you to people you should know to grow your business.
  • We’re your eyes and ears on the latest changing digital platforms. We understand social media and we know how to leverage it to help businesses grow.
  • We’re creative. We have to be innovative every day for our clients – planning grand openings, announcements, social media campaigns and oh-so-much more.

Public relations is a field where the work changes every day and the industry is always in flux, even if the values, tenets and core skills remain the same from decade to decade. And we strive to serve our clients well, even if they all don’t always fully understand what we do.

Read more about what PR specialists do best:
5 tips for effective speech writing
Build customer relationships through digital channels
Thoughtful and logical design for all