Not Everything Needs to Be a PR

What Is Public Relations?

Public relations (PR) is a business practice used to influence or manage the image of a company, product, person, idea or event. PR professionals are often hired by companies to create positive media coverage for their products and services. PR professionals may also be involved in creating negative press releases and other promotional materials aimed at influencing public opinion.

The term “publicity” was coined by Edward Bernays in 1912 to refer to any effort aimed at influencing the thoughts, feelings, opinions and behavior of others through advertising. His theory of propaganda became widely accepted after World War I when it was discovered that newspapers were being influenced by such messages during war time.

In 1929, William Randolph Hearst invented the modern day newspaper with his San Francisco Examiner and began using it as a tool for promoting his own interests.

In the United States, the first major organization of journalists called the American Press Association was formed in 1876. It was originally intended to protect journalists from lawsuits but soon expanded its mission to include all aspects of journalism including news reporting and feature writing.

Today there are over 2,000 member publications in North America and Europe. These organizations publish thousands of magazines, newspapers, books and websites each year.

The first popular PR firm, the Publicity Bureau, was founded by George Parker in New York City. It specialized in the development of press releases and distributing them to newspapers.

The advent of public relations as a formal business came about during the beginning of organized sports in the 1890s. The manager of the original Madison Square Garden, P.T. Barnum, created promotional materials for a contest to see who could ring the loudest bell at his new arena. The ensuing publicity stunt not only filled seats at the Garden, but also resulted in more publicity for the arena.

The first modern PR firm was founded by Carl Byoir who created the company in 1935. In 1934, he published one of the first manuals of public relations techniques called “Propaganda And Publicity.” He was hired by major corporations such as General Motors to handle media inquiries and began hiring people with writing experience to help him compose news releases and other media materials.

The History of Public Relations

The history of public relations begins with the first organized businesses. During ancient times, business was conducted almost entirely on a personal level.

If a person wanted to sell their goods or services to someone else, they would meet them in person. If you wanted something from someone, you spoke with them directly and attempted to make a deal with them.

The first businesses started to appear during the time of ancient Egypt and Sumeria. These businesses would be called “merchant guilds” and they were largely made up of people who traveled in order to conduct trade.

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It was important for these merchants to be trusted by their customers so that they would keep coming back to purchase more goods. This gave rise to the idea of building a reputation.

As time went on and these businesses grew, they became more complex. During the time of ancient Greece and Rome, these guilds began employing full time administrators to help keep track of all the day-to-day details required to keep a business running.

These administrators were the first people whose job was only focused on keeping track of the reputation of their employer. They helped ensure that any potential new customers saw them in the right light so that they could do their job effectively.

The term “public relations” was first used by Edward Bernays in the 1920s. He was part of the first generation of true Public Relations Specialists.

His work helped to mold the practice of public relations that exists today. Before him, many people didn’t know what public relations was or its benefits. After him, it quickly became a widely accepted discipline within most businesses around the world.

The first people to practice public relations before the twentieth century were politicians. Many of them realized the need to control the message they told the public about themselves and their opponents.

If you could control what the public thought about you, it would be much easier to get elected into office because people would see you in a positive light. This gave rise to campaign slogans, talking points, rebuttals to your opponents claims, and many other methods of controlling the message the public heard.

The first time the word “public relations” was used was in the 1920s. A firm known as Hill Man College was the first to coin the term.

They were the first company to have the term “public relations” appear in their name. It would be another decade before the term became commonplace. Even then, the definition was vague enough that it could be interpreted several different ways.

Opinions differed as to what exactly public relations was supposed to mean. Some people thought it was only about handling bad press.

Others believed it was only about promoting the good things your company or political candidate did. Still others believed it was more complicated than that and required a deeper understanding of human nature to truly master.

The definition of public relations expanded over the years as new generations of public relations specialists emerged and became more important in a world which was becoming more complex and therefore required more nuanced approaches to problem solving.

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Despite an ever-changing world, there are still some things that remain constant. Public relations is still just as important today as it has ever been.

Without public relations there would be no way to properly maintain a positive image of a company or political candidate. Without it, they would have no hope of winning the election or gaining the favor of their customers.

You’ve been interested in public relations for years and now that you’ve graduated high school, you are ready to make it your life’s work. You first thought you might go into politics, but ultimately you decided against it.

There were two reasons for that. The first was that you weren’t exactly the most popular person in school and often found yourself lacking in the friends department.

The other reason is much more simple and probably just as important. While you were filling out your college applications, you didn’t really know what you wanted to do with your life and thought that getting a degree in something like politics might be a good choice.

Sources & references used in this article:

It’s not just PR: Public relations in society by WT Coombs, SJ Holladay – 2013 –

What do undergrads need to know about trade? by PR Krugman – The American Economic Review, 1993 – JSTOR

The value of nature and the nature of value by …, S Aniyar, K Arrow, P Dasgupta, PR Ehrlich… – …, 2000 –

PR 2.0: New media, new tools, new audiences by DK Breakenridge – 2008 –

Everything you should know about public relations: direct answers to over 500 questions by A Davis – 2003 –

Balanced scorecard step-by-step: Maximizing performance and maintaining results by PR Niven – 2002 –