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Public relations - what's it all about?

Public relations or communications can mean many things to a lot of people. But it really is quite simple. Here is a very basic run down on the types of public relations professionals deal with daily.

Ingrid Harrison
Ingrid Harrison
2 months ago
The ABC of public relations - it really is quite straightforward

WE'VE been scratching our heads of late seeing the new types of public relations/communications consultants in the marketplace. Some of their offerings have become lost in translation so it’s timely to look at the main types of public relations every business, organisation, or government business enterprise needs to maintain its standing and profile among its stakeholder groups. It’s not rocket science.

The seven types of public relations:

  • Media Relations
  • Investor Relations
  • Government Relations
  • Community or Stakeholder Relations
  • Internal Relations
  • Customer Relations
  • Marketing Communications
  • Media Relations

Media relations are the relationships an organisation builds with journalists and other media professionals to spread information broadly and across all platforms regarding an organisation’s policies, plans, and practices. It includes media conferences and preparing media releases to generate coverage of a company’s business, products and services.

Maintaining productive and ongoing media relations is an important part of any public relations strategy.

Investor relations are the communications between a company’s or business's corporate management and its investors, government authorities, shareholders, and the financial community. The main focus of investor relations is ensuring a company’s investors get an accurate account of the organisation’s financial affairs through proper disclosure of key facts. Unlike other public relations activities, investor relations practices are required to be integrated with a company’s legal and accounting departments. Investor relations are also subjected to more regulatory, financial, and legal requirements by governments than regular public relations.

Government relations are how an organisation communicates with the various levels of government. Government relations' policies help an organisation build meaningful interactions and beneficial relationships with government officials. It deals with communications regarding regulatory and legislative issues and engaging with policymakers for lobbying efforts.

Community or stakeholder relations are vital relationships with a community for a business or an organisation's long-term survival and growth. Community relations allow a mutually beneficial relationship between an organisation and the communities in which it operates. When organisations take an active interest in their communities and allow two-way communication, they gain the respect of their communities.

Internal relations are an organisation’s human resources, employee unions, and shareholders who have a direct role in the working of the organisation and contribute to its success. Ensuring a good work/life balance ensures the welfare of employees are top of mind. When employees are better engaged and feel their needs are being met, they become more productive and develop a strong sense of loyalty.

Team building events, input into contributing to an organisation’s vision and values, training and educational programs as well as award events recognising hard work are some methods of positive and ongoing internal engagement.

Customer relations are how an organisation manages its interactions with its existing customer base and also its past and potential customers. The focus of customer relations is on improving the customer experience, and includes providing answers to short-term issues and creating long-term solutions for major roadblocks. This helps boost customer acquisition, satisfaction, and loyalty. A strong customer relations strategy is a requisite for the sustainable growth of the company. Establishing emotional connections with the customers and employing multiple ways of engaging with them strengthens the customer experience.

Marketing communications is a set of methods and tools to communicate either directly or indirectly to customers. It includes public relations activities, advertising, branding, packaging, direct marketing, sales presentations, online promotions, and more. Marketing communications focuses on positioning and building a brand to create and sustain demand for the company’s products.

Public relations strategies fall under the wider purview of marketing communications and include building and maintaining favourable relationships with customers, employees, media outlets, and government bodies.

So you can see public relations encompasses a range of areas and is all about maintaining strong and positive relationships between an organisation and its numerous publics and stakeholders to help spread its message, promote its offerings and importantly, to garner feedback. By undertaking the full range of public relations, a company or organisation successfully manages its reputation, building important trust in what it does and in its people. Connecting with its target audiences in impactful ways is an imperative to future success.