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What are public relations? Public relations are advocates between the public and who they represent such as celebrities, companies, and all types of organizations. Most of us are not celebrities so we do not have a public relations representative. Those who do have a PR specialist know the importance of good PR because they are in charge of representing them in a positive manner. Perception is reality in many cases and an organization's stature, success, and profitability can be affected by positive or negative public relations. Even if a company is doing relatively well, bad public relations could do the company harm if the public perceives the company in a negative light. On the other hand, great PR can mean a world of difference in a company's financial success. In the government, public relation specialists are typically called press secretaries and keep the media and public current on all matters.

It goes without saying that PR specialists must have excellent communication skills with preferably a degree in communications. Many PR specialists write speeches as well, so creative writing skills are a vital part of PR. A PR specialist should be enthusiastic, have a positive attitude, confident, and represent their clients to the absolute best of their ability. A PR specialist can’t be shy, soft-spoken, and afraid to speak in front of people. With communication being so important in the life of a PR specialist, those who excel in public speaking will have the best opportunities to represent large organizations. Those who represent different types of business and organizations should have at least a basic knowledge of the field they are in.

Public relations do more then just relay messages between the public and who they represent. They may also serve as counsel in making important business decisions. They will advise the company about the ramifications of their actions, negatively or positively. Public relations may also set up fund-raising events, meetings, and speaking engagements of all kinds. They must determine the appropriate time and place to send their messages, so there is a time and place for everything. Public relations should describe why a company administered a certain policy or course of action and answer the why, how, and when to the media. While the public relations specialists may not be responsible for a company’s view, they are required to make the best out of the company’s decision to implement a questionable position.

Public relations also must have their finger on the public’s pulse in relationship to their overall view of a company. How does the public view the company? How can we improve public perception and enhance the company’s image? Ethics play a major role in the life of a public relations specialist. PR must disclose the truth to the public and distort the truth on a company’s finances for example. Especially in wartime, public relations are crucial in gaining the public’s support. Since lives are at stake the PR specialist in the military can’t disclose all of the truth because that could endanger lives, so they must give accurate information but also protect detailed military strategies in the process. PR can’t deceive the public into thinking something is true when it is completely and utterly false.

The Public Relations Student Society of America helps those who are looking to gain entry in a public relations career by offering training and education. Many potential public relation specialists gain experience by writing for their university. Internships are highly coveted and could provide a potential PR with a great deal of valuable experience. It is vital to a public relations specialist and other related fields to gain knowledge through doing.

Public relations specialist’s earnings will vary depending on experience and type of PR work. On average those who represent companies can earn around $53,000 per year, while those who represent universities can earn around $44,000 per year. The higher the profile of the company or public figure the more a public relations specialist will earn. This is because the larger the company or public figure the more work and knowledge needed. In addition, the increase of public relations is expected to increase over the next decade because companies want the highest quality PR available to aid in their stability and growth. With more companies growing competition is becoming fiercer and companies are looking for more educated, talented, and reliable PR specialists to represent them.

There are organizations which accredit schools in public relations such as the Universal Accreditation Board and The International Association of Business Communicators.

All companies and individuals want to be represented in the best manner possible. Companies from energy to fashion need a good public relations specialist to mediate between them and the public. Competition between public relations specialists are on the rise because of the high-profile nature of the job.
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