Public relations is the art of disseminating positive information about your business to your public, often through the media. Unlike traditional advertising, PR generates unpaid messages through news stores, press conferences and other forms of publicity. This gets the information about your business out in a way that is seen as more credible than a paid advertisement, but there are important concepts to be aware of as you come up with your strategy.

Damage Control

Damage control is a critical element of any PR strategy. It involves reaching out and cleaning up any mess created by a business scandal, negative news or offensive products, services or messages.

Public relations to combat damaging perceptions, with the goal being to replace a negative narrative with a positive one. Small matters may be combated by something as simple as a press release or news conference, but a major scandal requires a more comprehensive and sustained effort.


PR tools are the specific methods by which messages are communicated. Along with press releases and press conferences, companies use feature stories, internal and external newsletters and event participation to interact with the public.

One key role of a PR professional is to generate newspaper and television coverage of a major business event, and plant the ideas for positive feature stories associated with it. The advantage of this type of exposure as compared to paid advertising is that you not only don't pay for the placement, but the public often perceives third-party coverage as more credible.

Stakeholder Relationships

Public relations includes managing the relationships your business develops with all of its stakeholders, including customers, communities, governments, business partners and employees. Often much of a company's planned PR activities center around generating positive word-of-mouth in customer circles.

PR also is useful in maintaining a positive image within local communities and with local political officials whose decisions impact your business. Additionally, a positive reputation of integrity when dealing with partners and employees can open more doors to business opportunities and talent management in the future. While the specific PR messaging may be different as it is tailored specifically toward each target audiences, messages should reflect common themes in order to avoid confusion.


A key objective of public relations is to promote goodwill with stakeholders and the public. This means maintaining a favorable public image, enhancing the positive news about the company while mitigating the negative. Companies usually conduct PR audits to figure out what positive brand messages to communicate and what vulnerabilities exist, which helps your business learn how to be more effective at dealing with its individual PR needs.