- government bodies
- public and private institutions
- past, potential, and existing customers
- investors and shareholders
- print and Internet media
- opinion formers
- voluntary bodies
- citizens’ groups and advocacy bodies
- consumer protection associations
- legal institutions
PR differs from propaganda. In a society attuned to making decisions based on informed choice, it is imperative that the information organizations communicate to their audiences is appropriate, verifiable, suitable, and applicable. Rather than merely engaging in one-way communication with audiences, PR professionals use audience feedback to organize their business missions in accordance with the concerns and expectations of those they wish to reach.
Within their organizations, PR professionals involve themselves in writing briefs, reports, brochures, media and press releases, articles, features, in-house literature, shareholder material, and a variety of other professional materials. Their activities are chiefly directed toward developing corporate identity, maintaining amicable working relations with the media and the surrounding corporate environment, and improving their companies’ reputations.
PR professionals utilize avenues such as conferences, exhibitions, and competitions to communicate to their specific audiences. Additionally, they conduct research and analytical activities to ensure they know their audiences thoroughly enough to successfully tailor their promotional activities.
PR professionals usually begin their careers with consulting firms as trainees. Initially, they typically handle corporate accounts under supervision. After the initial training period, they advance upwards, becoming account executives. Seniority in the industry generally comes with experience and through practical exposure to the public relations environment. With sufficient experience, PR professionals can advance to senior, managerial, and director-level positions in the industry.
Most people who enter the PR profession are college graduates, and a number of universities, professional bodies, and other educational institutions provide certificates, diplomas, and degrees in public relations. Aspiring candidates can contact educational institutions, career counselors, and career information services, attend career fairs, and consult various business publications for information and guidance regarding relevant opportunities.