“What’s your job again?” Understanding public relations, public affairs, and purposeful communication

Hannah Morris Blog

When I tell people I work in public relations/public affairs, they usually assume my job involves one of three things:

  • Yelling, “It’s handled!” into a burner phone while powerwalking through an urban landscape like Olivia Pope in Scandal.
  • Air-kissing celebrities at star-studded affairs like Samantha Jones in Sex in the City.
  • Drowning in impossible requests between coffee runs for “A Very Important Person”™ like Andrea Sachs in Devil Wears Prada.

Then, there’s the occasional blank stare. For instance, a good friend of mine once said, “I don’t know what you do, but it sounds like you like it.” – (I do!)

So what do my fellow PR pros and I do exactly? Well, that depends on who’s hiring us, and how they’d like our help. At dovetail solutions, this usually falls into two categories: public relations and public affairs.

Public relations involves using different tools to help a brand shape its message and public affairs involves making sure that message reaches people within the communities it will impact. For instance, making sure citizens understand upcoming pieces of legislation that could help or harm their housing, transportation, education or employment options.

To do either effectively requires that we thoroughly understand the benefits of the products/services our clients offer, as well as the communities in which they serve. And we make sure we do just that.

Every person on the dovetail team is an active member of a local organization such as the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Denver Partnership, Public Relations Society of America and the Urban League Foundation of Colorado. These relationships with politicians, government officials, media representatives and other decision-makers, create opportunities for our clients to achieve their goals.

Every scenario is a little different, but one thing is consistent: we use communication skills to care for Colorado.

Still confused? Check out this infographic: http://static.wixstatic.com/media/06caaf_ab3f577eed4e49e6a8e767a0a489cbe6.jpg