Public relations (or “PR”) is the creation and preservation of a company’s good public image through the use of the media. As such, public relations is important because it shapes the image, builds the brand, and spreads the message of an organization. Traditionally, the main media channels utilized included writing press releases, coordinating advertising, and using other marketing communications tools such as interviews and speeches.
In today’s digital marketing era, there are more channels than ever to manage. A comprehensive public relations strategy might combine the reputation-building capability of influencer marketing, content marketing that provides value for customers, and shareable social media to drive impressions and click-thrus. PR professionals today can also use software tools for sentiment analysis on social media to better understand how a company is perceived, and even join the online conversation directly to mitigate negative publicity.
Regardless of which media channels and tools are being used, at the end of the day the goal of all public relations is the same: shaping a consistent, positive narrative for clients.
Public relations careers require strong communications skills including writing and speaking, whether you are fundraising for a political candidate, managing community relations in a large city, or promoting a new online streaming TV show. You also need the interpersonal skills required to build relationships with media gatekeepers and influencers.
Public relations specialists work as liaisons with the media, helping clients communicate with the public through speeches, interviews, and social media programs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public relations specialists have a median salary of $61,150 per year and typically have a bachelor’s degree.
Yes. Whether you are looking to increase your knowledge of advertising and branding, or dive deep into the use of data analytics in social media marketing, Coursera has a wide range of courses and Specializations to take your public relations skills to the next level.
These courses are offered by top-ranked institutions from around the world including IE Business School, Northwestern University, and Rutgers the State University of New Jersey. Thanks to virtual office hours and collaborative projects, you can learn online from leaders in the field, all while doing the same coursework as on-campus students but at a significantly lower cost.
The skills and experience that you might need to already have before starting to learn public relations would include having excellent communications skills in both writing and speaking, good creative thinking skills and analytical skills, and excellent planning and presentation talents. You might also have a nose for news, an interest in top media personalities, and insights into how media operations work. To learn public relations with a more distinct business focus, one might show interest in a certain industry or have several years of experience working in the industry.
The kind of people that are best suited for work that involves public relations are people who are often extroverted and creative with a strong sense of self and knowledge of how to use their personality to help a client gain favorable media coverage. Smart, agreeable people are often well suited for work in public relations, as the work demands building relationships with many different people. Additionally, public relations has evolved to the point where social media is now the driving force for many PR efforts. So the types of people who are best suited for public relations would ideally have strong internet knowledge, social media skills, and the ability to weave words, video, and images together to create compelling messages. It would also be beneficial to be a good strategic thinker and a data-driven professional.
Learning public relations is right for you if you are a creative person who is often working with written words and promotion for podcasts, videos, speeches, and events. You may be the extroverted one in your group that seems to always help friends with promotion ideas for their schemes. If this is you, learning about a career in public relations might be a good step. Many talented writers who start out in journalism may find their way toward work in public relations, writing press releases, calling reporters, and helping their clients share their messages on social media.
This FAQ content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.