An exploration into the field of public relations
My last treatise considered the field of public relations from a rather general perspective by paying attention to the required skills and the principles of public relations. It must be mentioned that public relations is a fertile field for different professionals wherein people with different skill sets can exhibit their versatility.
Considering its many engagements and activities, almost all other professionals can play a role in the field of public relations. With the foregoing in mind, this treatise will discuss some activities of public relations, tools of public relations and some public relations events.
In a bid to establish mutual understanding between organisations and the public, public relations officers carry out some important activities which will be discussed in this section. The first of such activities is publicity. Those in the public relations field try to generate information about individuals, products and/or services. Such information must be newsworthy so that it can be easily disseminated from person to person since publicity is not normally paid for.
Another activity of public relations agents and officers is to organise events. Such events could be seminars, exhibitions or conferences which are used to gain attention and create awareness for products, services and other activities. Public relations firms also serve as press agencies. A press agency is an organisation that collects and gives news to newspapers, magazines, television news programmes, and radio stations.
A public relations officer or firm also generates useful details about products, services, individuals and institutions that media houses can broadcast. For integrity’s sake, such information supplied must be veracious. The ethics of public relations prohibit false declarations. Another activity of public relations is community involvement.
Public relations firms, according to Bakare (2017), get involved in community engagements such as civic and youth activities, charitable fund-raising drives, cultural or recreational activities and whatnot. A public relations firm may also contribute to human development through scholarships for students and the sponsorship of community projects like erecting town halls and providing potable water. Research is another crucial activity of public relations.
There is the need for constant evaluation, monitoring, measurement and analysis of observable changes in public attitudes. Finally, planning is an essential activity of public relations. That is to say, public relations practitioners are expected to plan and execute their firms’ programmes. This planning involves assessing how the policies and actions of the organisations relate well to the expectations of the public. Planning also extends to seeking feedback and ascertaining the effectiveness of their programmes and activities.
Moving on, there are important tools deployed by public relations firms to successfully execute their tasks. Some of them will be discussed in this piece. First, publications are veritable tools for the activities of public relations firms; they include annual reports, brochures, articles, company newsletters, magazines, pamphlets and so on. These publications are branded by company logos, signs, symbols, images and designs to help create a distinct brand identity by firms.
Another tool deployed in public relations is news release. A news release consists of information about an organisation geared towards shedding light on a topical issue that interests a firm. A news release may be announcing a new product, informing the public of staff promotion or creating awareness about a major contract. Photography is also an important tool required in public relations. It is absolutely crucial to have the photographs of events, products, equipment and/or staff and ambassadors. These photographs must be followed by appropriate and catchy captions.
Feature articles are equally used by public relations firms to discuss important issues relating to products, services and personalities. These articles are relatively longer than a news release and present more detailed information which may include illustrations on how to use products, stories on societal happenings that affect the general public and state-of-the-art technology. Feature writings, unlike news reports, give room for writers’ creativity, thus enabling a public relations officer to convincingly convey a scenario. Other tools used in public relations are posters, exhibitions and bulletin boards. All are deployed for awareness creation and promotion of products, ideas and personalities.
Lastly, this piece will discuss some public relations events. There are certain events that public relations practitioners engage in for the smooth running of their undertakings. First, public relations firms and/or practitioners organise press conferences. A press conference is a meeting where a person or organisation makes a public statement, and reporters can ask questions. Public relations firms also engage in press reception which is similar to press conferences.
According to Bakare (2017), press reception is a more formally organised occasion where there is a programme of activities such as demonstrations, speeches or showing of a documentary. It is often followed by a launch or buffet. Facility visit is another event in public relations. This involves taking a group of reporters on a visit to a far place, or a demonstration drive, flight or tour of a company’s facilities. Lastly, public relations organisations also organise exhibitions wherein a convenient centre is provided for buyers and sellers to meet. By extension, sellers present actual products and services and equally demonstrate their uses to the participants.
In rounding off, this piece has exposed the different aspects of public relations such as the activities, tools and events found in this sector. Assuredly, the treatise will come in handy for individuals who aspire to a career in the field.