PR Search Engine is a fantastic public relations resource. Here is a description taken from a great article written by Robert Wynn:

PR is the Persuasion Business.  You are trying to convince an audience, inside your building or town, and outside your usual sphere of influence, to promote your idea, purchase your product, support your position, or recognize your accomplishments. Here’s what the Public Relations Society of America PRSA agreed upon after a few thousand submissions:  “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” 

PR people are storytellers. They create narratives to advance their agenda.  PR can be used to protect, enhance or build reputations through the media, social media, or self-produced communications.  A good PR practitioner will analyze the organization, find the positive messages and translate those messages into positive stories.  When the news is bad, they can formulate the best response and mitigate the damage.

The Princeton Review notes that: “A public relations specialist is an image shaper. Their job is to generate positive publicity for their client and enhance their reputation … They keep the public informed about the activity of government agencies, explain policy, and manage political campaigns. Public relations people working for a company may handle consumer relations, or the relationship between parts of the company such as the managers and employees, or different branch offices.”  (read full article)

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