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Lighting the Power of PR

The 'official' definition of PR, forming the Institute of Public Relations, is ' the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its public'.

PR has many elements, publicity is certainly one of the most important ones. This seeks to inform readers, listeners or viewers, and to be effective, which requires news value, i.e. what the media and PR professionals called a 'news angle'. A story must hang on a peg to be carried by the media ; if it is of little or no appeal to the audience it will not attract the reporter or editor, even if he or she is someone you have deliberately courted over the years.

Another element of PR is promotion, which also aims to inform by projecting the benefits of a programme or product, and is more like advertising than publicity; this is why promotional articles, which are lacking of a strong 'news angle', usually encounter difficulties to be placed on the news media.

Although public relations has already been appreciated as an important contributor to the success of any organisation, some companies are still engaged in protracted discussions on whether they should 'have' PR or not. This is ridiculous, since all organisations are communicating with audiences that are important to themselves; in other words, practicing PR, whether they realise it or not.

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