15 min read

What Are the Functions of Public Relations?

Public relations functions allude to different processes for business reputation management. Here's what you need to know to get started.

According to the experts from ‘LiveMint.Com’, if marketing and public relations campaigns are executed properly under the influence of functions of public relations, they can drive up to 63% of the company’s total business value.

At the same time, the slightest mishap in communication, such as a delayed response from the business’s end or anything else  for that matter can also affect the overall strategy.

Think of it as a topsy turvy path where you do not want to mess up with anything without the assistance of data driven metrics and KPIs.

Moving on, public relations is a slippery slope, and a lot of meticulous planning and care is supposed to go into any process that entails building “trust” with customers. Therefore, it is important for businesses to invest in different functions of public relations to sustain scalability and longevity from a near future perspective.

Unfortunately, many companies are not aware of the full depth of functions of public relations. Their strong suite might be press releases and social media influencer campaigns while doing little to no focus on other reputation management strategies.

Fear not. This post highlights different aspects of public relations in the light of fast-paced automated workflows; why PR is important and what you are supposed to know about different functions of public relations.

What is Public Relations?

From a layman’s perspective, public relations is a strategic communication technique where any individual, company, or business builds a long-term beneficial relationship with internal & external stakeholders.

Speaking of stakeholders, external stakeholders are your clients, potential customers, and people who have invested in your company’s project(s) – so much so to the extent of having a say in the overall processes.

Internal stakeholders are usually people in the senior management who have some kind of influence over ongoing projects. Regardless of whatever the affected parties may be, it is the role of a public relations agency to draft a specialized communication plan. This plan should ideally consist of different functions of public relations with direct and indirect mediums to relay information, build relationships, and impact business scalability from time to time.

In other words, whatever the functions of public relations that your business is looking to adopt, the processes should focus on the following key highlights:

  • The type of information that’s about to be released or made public.
  • How do you draft your PR content?
  • When and how the information will be released, and through which mediums?
  • What is the type of media that you are going to use to release the information (Earned vs. Paid Media Strategies)?

As we move on in this post, all of the above information and its constituents will eventually become clear to you.

Why Are Different Functions of Public Relations Important to Your Company?

Although there are numerous reasons associated with the importance of public relations functions, we’re going to take a look at the significant ones.

● Brand Reputation Management

The job of a public relations company under such public relations functions is to manage the positive perception of the brand. Given that people may have questions related to the brand operations, workflows, or the types of ingredients it uses in the products, the PR firm can communicate accordingly to maintain the reputation of the business.

● Business Value Promotion

Talk about portraying a positive image of your business and its core values among consumers from all over the world, and you have got this particular PR function to deal with.

Your company’s core values entail a mission statement that you can use in a couple of press releases to create a storyline for the people. Such strategies are important to uphold the goodness, prosperity, and common welfare aspects of any business in question.

● Community Relationship Management

For any prospering business, it is important to create and maintain a positive relationship with the community. There are times when companies want to be seen partaking in public welfare programs and such activities which help to promote a positive image-based.

If your business participates in philanthropic events, make sure that your actions are seen, and your voice is heard to convey a strong message that says you are all about the common cause.

How 'PR Hacker' Combined Direct Marketing with Functions of Public Relations For Maximum Impact?

Not too long ago, PR Hacker, a U.S.-based digital marketing & public relations firm rendered its services to ‘Milk-Bone Co.’ It’s a 110-year-old American dog treat brand with a history etched in doing welfare work & raising donations + charities for ‘Canine Assistants.’ The latter is a non-profit animal welfare organization

One of the biggest obstacles in this scalability campaign was Milk-Bone’s guidelines. It required that the maximum financial support should be directed to ‘Canine Assistants’. So, PR Hacker basically had to use specific public relations functions that could possibly earn free media coverage – and that too, at a very modest budget.

How Did PR Hacker Get More People to Talk About Canine Assistants & Generate Massive Attention For The Organization’s Amazing Philanthropic Work?

PR Hacker came up with a remarkable concept within the confines of different functions of public relations. They created: ‘Dogs Who Changed The World’ – a dedicated national awards program that highlighted at least 15 or so as local “hero dogs” for their remarkable services to mankind.

The firm also created a bunch of new B-Roll videos, and also re-used whatever visual material that ‘Canine Assistants’ and ‘Milk Bone’ could share.

As a result, PR Hacker not only managed to turn heads through highly professional copy and newsworthy content that local media picked up on, but the firm also managed to build the hype up on Milk Bone’s core message – i.e. ‘Treats That Do More’.

By personalizing existing functions of public relations and past expertise, the agency was able to secure media placements in over 200 media outlets, which further resulted in crossing the pawsome 300 million impressions threshold.

Find Out More: PR Hacker Turns Philanthropy Into Viral Buzz for ‘Milk Bone’

What Are the Main Functions of a Public Relations Firm?

Whether it’s a public relations firm that you have recently onboarded, or you are working internally through a diverse team of experts, there is a certain number of PR functions that you need to know. These functions include, but are not limited to the following information:

1. Media Representation

Media coverage is just one aspect of the functions of public relations. Anything that has to do with the development and distribution of written and video releases, pitching stories to journalists, and responding to journalists’ queries is part of media management.

While the possibility of seeing your company highlighted by media respondents in a positive light is great, it is equally important to monitor and measure the results. After all, data-driven metrics lead to improved performance when you are looking to run the same type of media management public relations campaigns in the future.

2. Crisis Communication

Crisis communication is all about managing media representation and relationships whenever some kind of threat befalls a company’s reputation. This is where a crisis communication plan comes into action.

The components of a crisis communication plan are handled by people in the public relations department. They are well versed in designating an official spokesperson, content strategy, and logistics to avert the crisis from happening in the future again. This function of public relations entails the development and targeted release of messages, both for the internal and external audience.

The spokesperson is trained to handle tough and hostile questions in a calm demeanor.

3. Content Development & Management

Moving on with the functions of public relations, content development is an integral element that helps companies to create and manage different sorts of strategies.

The content section constitutes emails, newsletters, press releases, newsworthy content, annual reports, blogs, and speeches. Especially when something has to be written and communicated on behalf of the business’s CEO, or upper management, content has to be created in a very specific tone.

Under this function, the public relations agency working on behalf of your company may work with the marketing department or key players to get insight into the storyline specifics. This helps the PR company to create content with attention to detail, so that the concerned parties at the end of the day, can be kept in the loop.

4. Social Media Management

Lastly, social media management plays a vital role in maintaining a positive virtual presence of a company on any number of social media platforms.

This is one of the functions of public relations where social media influencer campaigns can also be taken into account. Specific tasks include maintaining social media profile pages, Tweets, and keeping an eye out on competitors’ activities to create a strategy that eventually resonates with the updates going on at the business’s forefront.


3 Significant Advantages of Functions of Public Relations

Depending on the niche industry, the advantages of having simultaneous ongoing functions of public relations are appended below:

1. Influence Factor

a. Your public relations experts can influence people through earned and paid media campaigns. The customer will be affected by the nature of the information that is relayed to them.

2. Cost Efficiency

b. The overall process is cost-efficient because the paid cost of PR promotional campaigns is cheaper than onboarding brand ambassadors and collaborating with mega social media influencers for sponsored content.

3. Improved Outreach

c. A well-timed and well-executed press release can have greater outreach as compared to seasonal social media campaigns. However, the outreach factor for any press release also depends on the type of medium you have chosen for your strategy.

Public Relations vs Marketing vs Advertising

When it comes to differentiating between marketing, advertising and public relations, its quite challenging to delineate the exact differences between the three.

Unless, of course, you know someone who’s an expert at all three. Luckily you’re at TOP’s Blog, so you’re in safe hands! 🙂

After all, public relations to publicity to sales, there are different terms that are used interchangeably to describe the activities that all contribute to the broader company goal.

So, before we dive into the differences between the three lets define what is marketing and advertising so that it’s easy to differentiate them from public relations.

What is Marketing?

The formal definition of Marketing is, “An aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer.”

When you think of marketing you need to have a holistic view point rather than a tunnel vision. Marketing is basically the whole puzzle, as opposed to a single piece.

It’s for this exact reason that many companies have marketing departments which are performing a whole multitude of activities including public relations and advertising.

Marketing is the overall activity that represents the steps taken by a company to get more eye balls for their product or services.

What is Advertising?

The formal definition of Advertising: “The action of calling something to the attention of public especially by paid advertisements.”

In contrast, you can think of advertising more like a singular activity – as opposed to a strategy.

Advertising is a marketing communication that deploys an openly non personal, sponsored message to promote a product or service.

Advertisements come in many different formats, form interactive video to copy, and have evolved to become a crucial feature of the overall promotion framework.

The major differences between PR, Marketing & Advertising

Their Structure

Like we’ve mentioned earlier, the structure between the three is a key differentiator between the three.

We really liked how Laura Lake in a post for The Balance summed up the difference.

“Think of marketing as a pie. Inside that pie you have slices of advertising, market research, media planning, public relations, product pricing, distribution, customer support, sales strategy, and community involvement.

When we talk about the structure, this practically means that public relations and advertising are pretty much the same – they are both part of the bigger marketing pie.

Their Goals

Marketing, Public Relations and Advertising have the same goal: Increasing Sales of a service or product.

However, within that larger goal, all three have individual goals as well:

  • Goal of Marketing:  To acquire new customers while fostering and maintaining a great relationship with them well into the future.
  • Goal of Public Relations: To create, maintain and protect the companies reputation, enhance its prestige, and present a favorable image.
  • Goal of Advertising: To inform, persuade, or remind your clients about your service or product.

Their Efforts

Different efforts and activities help differentiate between these often confused labels.

As a brief example, answer a simple question (consider it as a quiz). Which of the following is not an aspect of advertising?

  • Purchasing a half-page in a local newspaper to promote your new service.
  • Placing ads on LinkedIn to target your target market.
  • Putting a Press Release about your new service.

If you guessed “C”, you’re correct. For recall, advertising involves paying for a specific promotion.


At the end of the day, whether you are looking to integrate functions of public relations into your company is a matter of when and how. Given their benefits and the opportunities, these functions should be implemented in a step-by-step approach for maximum business scalability.

If you are a business owner with no prior experience in running & managing public relations campaigns, it’s best to get in touch with a professional PR firm.

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