7 Categories of PR

By Trey Buckingham

HARO is a tool often used by PR professionals that allows them to connect with journalists to propose pitches.

At the heart of every well-run organization is a hard-working PR team. So many important responsibilities fall into the hands of these employees. It can be easy to underestimate the sheer breadth of tasks that public relations professionals might be expected to carry out on any given day. Luckily, the bulk of these assignments can be divided into seven different categories. 

Media Relations

Media Relations deals mostly with what one would expect. Establishing and maintaining relationships with media outlets is an extremely important job. Through these relationships, companies can earn media coverage in blogs, news articles, and other media outlets. PR professionals create pitches for journalists in the hope that they will pick it up and write a story about it. Direct contacts are very much important for this kind of work, however, there are a variety of online resources, such as HARO, that are used by journalists and public relations specialists to propose and find pitches. 

Crisis Communication

Crisis communications is arguably when a public relations department is at its most public-facing point. Ideally, situations in which a company is receiving bad media coverage are avoided completely, but accidents do happen. In these instances, public relations specialists are expected to create communications content that minimizes the damage to the company’s reputation. This is when strong media contacts become even more useful as they can be used to distribute press releases that represent the organization’s stance on the given situation. It is very important to create a consistent plan that can be adapted to whatever the situation calls for. 

Community Relations

Community relations gets at the core of what public relations sets out to accomplish, creating and maintaining a positive image for a company or organization. The goal of community relations is to nurture the relationship between a company and the community that most closely identifies with them. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways through blogs, social media, and even events. This is also where organizations get the rare opportunity to receive direct feedback from their consumers. 

Internal Communications 

In contrast to many of the other types discussed above, internal communications do not focus on the public opinion of a company. Rather, it accomplishes the task of coordinating communications with employees within the organization. In a post-covid world, this has become increasingly important. It is essential for an organization to maintain an open dialogue with its own employees to ensure that they are productive and satisfied. 

Social Media Communications

This form of communications is centered around social media platforms. Often, PR specialists are asked to run accounts to build brand awareness among potential customers. This includes choosing a specific tone that fits the brand’s message. In the past decade, this has become an extremely important part of PR campaigns as most interaction between organizations and consumers is done through social media. 

Public Affairs

Those interested in public affairs must have a deep interest in politics and building relationships with politicians. Organizations use this type of PR to influence legislation and regulations that come from different parts of the government. Having strong relationships with powerful politicians can prove extremely useful to companies that would like to avoid governmental influences on their business. 

Strategic Communications

Strategic Communications is the glue that holds the rest of these types together. It is essential for a company to maintain a consistent message with all of its communications materials. Usually, Communications Coordinators are tasked with this job as they oversee not just PR professionals, but also advertisers and marketers. 

As a PR professional, your job description may be broad or require you to specialize in one of these areas, so it is important to be well-versed in all areas!