Opinion: Demystifying Public Relations

When I made the leap from university to my first PR job, it amazed me how many people couldn’t articulate what public relations is – including clients and other people who work in communications. No matter how hard we PR folk try to explain it, unless you work in the industry, public relations can seem like an unsolvable puzzle.

The ‘non-understanding’ of PR has even trickled down into my social life. My boyfriend still asks me what ads I placed today, my Mum wants to know how much it costs me to get my client on TV and my friend is always very interested in my ‘marketing’ job.

However, as smug as I sound, when posed with the question “What is PR?” even the most experienced of publicists can find it difficult to explain. The reason for this is that public relations isn’t something that can be summed up in one sentence. Publicists are the mediators between their client and journalists, we are storytellers, we are copywriters, we are an extension of the brand or person we represent, we are crisis managers, social media gurus and news spinners – and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

In finishing – my fellow communicators, when frustrated with people not understanding what it is that you do, take solace in knowing that you understand what you do – and the importance of it.

– Mel Murat