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The Work of a Public Relations Practitioner

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Table of contents

  1. Public Relations (PR) Characteristics
  2. Associated Communication Fields
  3. Functions of a Public Relations Practitioner
  4. Techniques and Skills of the Public Relations Practitioner
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography

Public Relations are a vital part in any major business today. It is a company’s way of monitoring and evaluating the perceptions that the community has of the company and anything associated to its brand. By implementing good Public relations strategies, companies and brands are able to build a good reputation, which can in turn bring in new revenue for the company. This is important because this helps the company grow and can lead to further expansion in the future.

These days, more and more companies rely on public relations to create a favourable image for the company, because, with social media, things can very easily get out of hand. Social media is the best method to use these days, to advertise a business, but it has unfortunately become the best way to spread a bad reputation linked to brands.

That is why public relations in a business are so important. They are responsible to ensure that any issues that the company faces, regarding the products or services that they sell, are managed in a way that allows the public to be enlightened about the product/service offering, and it allows the company to be in control of the image associated to those products/services.

Public Relations (PR) Characteristics

Public relations can be described as the way in which a company maintains and controls its public image. This means that public relations practitioners are responsible for making sure that the company has a good reputation in the eyes of the public.

Characteristics of public relations that are needed when working as a public relations practitioner:

  1. Flexibility – a good PR practitioner needs to be able to adapt to unexpected situations. Whenever a problem arises, a PR practitioner needs to act fast and be in control of the situation as quick as possible.
  2. Thorough learning – a good PR practitioner needs to be willing to learn as they go. This is the only way that they are going to be able to keep their reputation a reliable one.
  3. Gathering information – PR practitioners needs to do a lot of research in order to stay in tune with the latest trends in order to stay relevant and keep their customers in the know.
  4. The Real purpose – any good PR person needs to remember the real reason they work towards a good image for the company. The main purpose for Public relations in a company is to help the business grow further. To lead them to success.
  5. Maintaining relationships – when it comes to public relations, it is important to maintain relationships with clients/public and personnel. This is the best way to establish trust and earn loyalty. Communication is key when it comes to building relationships in PR.
  6. Knowledge – In order to be a good PR practitioner, one must be fully aware of all the services/products that the business offers and also be up to date with future development plans that the company has. This allows for a bigger advantage to competitors.
  7. Powerful writing skills – When it comes to addressing the public in any way, whether it is at a press conference or via social media, a PR practitioner needs to be able to communicate with their audience in a creative yet professional way. This requires strong writing knowledge that conveys the desired message in a clear, positive way, which reflects the best interests of the company.
  8. Honesty – a person is known as a good PR practitioner when he/she can confidently address the public with the truth. It is important to tell the truth as a PR person because the reputation of the company is at stake. When lies are uncovered by the public, the company can take a massive hit and in turn damage their reputation.
  9. Thoroughness – in the world of Public Relations, small issues have the tendency to warp into giant problems. That is why it is so important for a PR person to do effective planning. Attention to detail is key when reviewing planning in order to detect minor flaws that might lead to a major disaster.
  10. Be tough! – A good PR practitioner learns to embrace criticism and learns from it instead of letting it push them down. They have thick skin and use the criticism as a way to improve on their performance in order to better represent the business as a PR professional.

These are just a few of the necessary characteristics needed in order to be a successful Public Relations Practitioner.

Associated Communication Fields

Today there is several different communication fields associated to Public Relations and its practices. Fields such as Marketing, Advertising, Sales and Publicity can in some ways be associated to Public relations. The following are examples of how these fields associate themselves with Public Relations:

  • Public Relations and Marketing – Marketing is concerned with promotion and advertisement of their available offerings, while PR is concerned with relationships involved in the process.
  • Public relations and Advertising – Advertising is the promotion of products and services through forms of media, while PR builds relationships and connects the business with the public.
  • Public Relations and Publicity – Publicity is more concerned with information that is given to the public, whether it’s good or bad. Whereas PR deals mostly with the perceptions of the public toward that information.
  • Public Relations and Propaganda – Public Relations deals with maintaining a good corporate image in the eyes of the public, but doing so in an honest way, while propaganda aims to change the perceptions of the public in a way that invokes suspicion.

These fields can be linked to Public relations is several ways. Even though they are linked and connect to each other in some ways, none of these fields should be mistaken with Public Relations.

Functions of a Public Relations Practitioner

As a Public relations practitioner, one must set certain functions in place in order to achieve the desired objectives. These functions can be explained in the following ways:

  1. Media relations – Media relations is a very important aspect in Public relations. It should be regarded as a continuous pursuit and not seen as a one-time solution only when problems occur. For example, a PR person should constantly monitor and evaluate all possible scenarios and be prepared to handle them.
  2. Corporate Reputation Management – It is vital for each and every member of the company’s staff to uphold the reputation of the company and to protect its image. This means that relationships between staff need to be built in order to maintain a good corporate image that reflects well on the company’s reputation. For example, when staff feels that they are appreciated in the company, they will become loyal and in turn protect the company’s name as best they can.
  3. Publications – Any and all information given by the Public Relations Practitioner should be in line with the company’s vision and objectives. All publications should be sent out in accordance with the business strategy of the organisation. For example, a PR person cannot say that the company sells offer the best services when it has not been proven.
  4. Branding Corporate Advertising – This has to do with maintaining a good corporate image in the eyes of the public. Making sure that the public is aware of the company’s brand and it is about getting them to trust the businesses reputation. For example, people tend to trust brands that offer great benefits or show great results.
  5. Sponsorship – This is also a way for companies to create awareness of their corporate brand. By sponsoring an event for example, a business can in turn enhance their corporate image and reputation. For example when Coca-Cola sponsors major sporting events, which leads to people buying more Coca-Cola drinks.
  6. Promotional activities – This includes activities such as events and marketing based seminars. These activities require a lot of planning and necessary marketing skills are needed in order to make sure it runs smoothly. For example, a business convention that launches a new product or service.
  7. Risk management – One small issue has the ability to completely shatter a good standing reputation in no time when it is not properly managed. Any negative issues associated with the business can lead to bad publicity and can completely change the public’s perception of the company and its brand. For example, when people spread rumours about a company or brand and the rumour reaches a lot of people, the company takes a big hit to its reputation.
  8. Social Media – Social media plays an important part in the responsibilities of a PR practitioner. It allows them to reach a bigger audience on a national or even international scale. It also allows for communication between influential people and the company itself in order for them to bring their message across. For example, when a company reaches out to a celebrity in order to promote their business, like in an advertisement on television.

These functions are important because they help achieve desired objectives and form part of a Public Relations Practitioner’s day-to-day life.

Techniques and Skills of the Public Relations Practitioner

In any Business, it is necessary for a Public Relations Practitioner to attain certain techniques and skills that come in handy when performing their day-to-day activities. The main techniques are writing, editing, production, addressing audiences, training, managing. A Public relations practitioner needs to have the knowledge to write certain publications. They cannot just say whatever they want. Any publications that goes out to the public needs to be edited. This is to ensure that everything said is in line with the business. A PR person needs to have the ability to speak in front of an audience, to the public. They must be able to deal with the media in a professional manner. Moreover, any PR practitioner needs to be trained to, not only deal with the media themselves, but to help the organisation be prepared for their questions and to help them when addressing the public. A Public Relations Practitioner needs to be in control when dealing with PR issues. They should always stay on top of new developments.


Public Relations is a broad field that intertwines with several other fields, so sometimes it’s hard to pin point exactly what Public Relations means. PR Practitioners can, in some ways, be seen as a pathway that connects the organisation with its public. They are able to shift peoples’ perception of the company and its brand in such a way that it creates awareness and inevitably bring in revenue for the business.

The world has become so technologically advanced that it seems like every business should include a Public Relations Practitioner when recruiting their staff. They are after all the best people to ensure that businesses procure a good reputation and initially grow as a company. This is of course the main goal of any business, to grow and stay profitable.


  1. Bernays. (1952) Public Relations, Oklahoma, SUA: University of Oklahoma Press.
  2. Butterick, K. (2011) Introducing public relations: Theory and Practice, London, Sage.
  3. Chari, V. The 10 characteristics of a successful PR professional
  4. Lexico. Definition of Public relations
  5. Monsion, L. (1998) How future practitioners define public relations, Journal of Public relations.
  6. Skinner,j. Mersham,G.Benecke,G, R. (2016) Handbook of Public Relations, South Africa, Oxford University Press.
  7. Wynne, R. Five things everyone should know about Public Relations

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