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Public relations is a strategic communications discipline that has been used by government agencies, privately held companies, and nonprofit organizations since the early 20th century. Unlike marketing or advertising, PR involves managing and distributing unpaid content to inform and influence members of the public as well as employees, stakeholders, and current or prospective customers. Public relations includes a variety of specializations depending on whether communications are needed for crisis management, internal operations, social media platforms, or online publication. This profession also includes media relations, which involves interacting with journalists and mainstream media brands.
PR firms design and implement communications strategies to influence the public and enhance a client's image or reputation. There are more than 12,000 such firms in the United States, although there are significant differences in the services they offer and the types of clients they serve. Here are a few of the most common disciplines:
Public relations specialists are responsible for developing and distributing all types of internal and external communications, including press releases, annual reports, online content, and social media posts. PR firms work with clients to set a target or goal. Then, they reverse engineer a strategy to accomplish the desired results. These professionals craft corporate messages, manage online content, interact with social media influencers, plan marketing events, and work with media outlets to promote unpaid content. Depending on the industry and the firm's specialization, their experience may span the digital and print spaces.
Marketing and public relations are complementary disciplines. In the traditional corporate hierarchy, these professionals work hand in hand to develop and refine promotional campaigns, track performance metrics, and maximize the results of these activities. For example, publicists can work with journalists and media outlets to distribute marketing materials developed by the brand's creative team. In most cases, coordinated PR and marketing activities are designed to enhance each other's strengths.
Probably. In most cases, U.S.-based businesses must prepare Form 1099-MISC for independent contractors, freelancers, and PR consultants who earn more than $600 per year. This document is required for income reporting and wage deductions. Businesses should consult a bookkeeper or certified public accountant for personalized tax advice, as 1099 requirements vary depending on the vendor's filing status.