What Is Public Relations?

The goal of public relations is to mold opinion. The saying "perception is reality" speaks to the need for public relations. Public relations works to protect an organization's or individual's reputation. Effective PR strengthens credibility, enhances image, develops goodwill and influences behavior. Speeches, special events, newsletters, annual reports and news releases are examples of PR tactics.

The difference between publicity and public relations.
The terms public relations and publicity are often misused. They are not interchangeable. Publicity is one aspect of public relations. Often referred to as free media, the goal of publicity is to get attention in online and traditional media. News coverage, feature articles, talk show interviews, blog postings and letters-to-the-editor are examples of publicity tactics.

The difference between publicity and advertising.
Other commonly confused terms are publicity and advertising. The key distinction is you pay for advertising. Because publicity is free, it is more credible and more likely to have an impact on the reader, listener or viewer.

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