Public relations — a cluster of elements all functioning together to (hopefully) work in harmony to benefit your firm, client, colleagues, the public etc. At least, this is how I look at it as a third-year Communication Studies student minoring in Advertising and Public Relations.
In my previous courses relating to Advertising, we’ve distinguished PR as earned media where Advertising is paid media. There are differences between Public Relations, Advertising, Marketing, and Journalism — even though they have many similarities.
I’m sure we can all name at least one PR disaster that has happened in the past ten years, ex. BP oil spill, NFL fumbles, and #myNYPD. Through these crises, I, personally have observed what PR professionals do in order to save face. Sure, there are many other tasks professionals have to accomplish, but when I think about PR I think about the various elements. Public Relations professionals use press releases, research, extensive planning, integrated communication etc. to aid their client and/or publics.
Five days ago I was asked to define Public Relations using my current knowledge. My response was, “Regulating and overseeing the spread of information between businesses and the public” (I’m still unsure if this is a correct definition, five days later).
After this course, I would like to fully understand what it takes to successfully “fix” a client’s problem and create a unique campaign for them to consider. I want to learn the lingo that is used in this practice and be able to apply it in my own writing (blogs, papers, campaign books, tweets etc.)
Due to my terrible experience in CAP 115, I would like to be able to use databases for secondary research as much as possible — along with more practice utilizing primary research. Overall, I want to feel confident with using research in any situation (client or for other class purposes).
My dream job is to be a creative director someday, and I would like to figure out whether Public Relations or Advertising is more suiting for my taste. I’m interested in understanding the hardships, pros, cons, and benefits of working in a small firm compared to a large firm or corporation. What experience is needed? Are there any small firms in Grand Rapids? What are some examples of typical clients? How do you manage your time? How do you establish relations with the public? How do you go about planning a fundraiser?
I would also like to understand the ethics and laws that go into Public Relations specifically, are there said/unsaid rules that need to be followed when creating a campaign or doing research? Also, when using social media how do you track your posts, regulate when you should post, and create effective tweets, status’, and blog posts?
Overall, I’m not sure if I will end up in Advertising and Public Relations after college, but after this class, I want to feel confident with the possibility of doing either. My goal for this course is to hand in pieces of work that I am proud of and will want to revisit after this semester is over.