25 Jul 9 Little Known Facts About PR
It’s always entertaining (AND educational) to play a game of “Did You Know.” Here are nine tidbits you may not have known about public relations (PR):
- Press Releases: Informing the public since 1906
Every day, across agencies far and wide, countless press releases are written, edited and distributed. But have you ever wondered how it all began? You can thank on of PR’s pioneers for that! The first press release ever written was by Ivy Lee in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1906, following an October 28th train wreck. He wrote it in conjunction with his client, the Pennsylvania Railroad, so that no other versions of the story, or suppositions, could be spread and reported. The rest, as they say, is history.
- I’ll take Public Relations for 200!
So press releases are a tool of the trade, for sure, but what does ‘public relations’ actually mean? Today, the term is defined by the Public Relations Society of America, or PRSA, as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” The first definition of public relations was established in the 1900s by PR founding fathers Ivy Lee and Edward Louis Bernays and was defined as “a management function, which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures and interests of an organization…followed by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.”
Sounds very complex so we decided to break it down: public relations means earned exposure for a company that provides their public with a third-party validation from the media. It’s very much about telling a story and using the appropriate language to persuade the media that the information presented is important.
- Extra, Extra! Read all about it!
Over the years, the demand for a printed newspaper has, unfortunately in our opinion, significantly decreased. But before the television, social media and the world wide web (which was NOT invented by Al Gore), newspapers were the sole source of sharing information to a broad audience. The first American newspaper, titled Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick, was printed on September 25, 1690 in Boston, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, it was also the last issue as British authorities shut it down for failing to obtain a correct printing license.
- Higher Learning
In 1947, Boston University was the first school to offer a university-level degree in Public Relations. Currently in the United States, there are over 1,400 colleges and universities that offer public relations as a major. Some common courses students are expected to take include: Principles of Public Relations, PR writing, Media Law and Speech.
- Tweet, Tweet
By now, everyone has heard of Twitter (unless of course, you live under a very large rock, or in a van down by the river). Twitter has become one of the top social media sites mostly because of the “less is more” standard. You can thank founder Jack Dorsey for the 140-character limit, saying, “We’re fond of constraints that inspire creativity.” He penned the first ever tweet saying, “just setting up my twttr” in March 2006.
- ‘Cause We Are Living In A Digital World…And We Are Digital Girls
With constant advancement of technology comes the demand of digital outlets to connect with people around the world. And let’s just say the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Below is a list of top social media platforms and their following:
- Facebook: 1.591 billion
- Instagram: More than 400 million
- Twitter: 947 million
- Snapchat: More than 100 million
- Periscope: More than 10 million
- No Pain, No Gain
Most people have a slightly skewed perception of a public relations career (thank you, Sex & The City). Ok, there are some glamorous aspects but there are also way more stressful moments that happen behind-the-scenes. But don’t just take our word for it. According to job search site CareerCast, event coordinator and PR executive are ranked #5 and #6, respectively, as the most stressful job in 2016 –, police officer, airline pilot, firefighter and military personnel, which was ranked first. (Hoo-Rah!)
- The More, The Merrier
Big firms, small firms, solo practitioners- according to IBIS World report release last December, there are over 42,000 public relations firms in the US and almost 90,000 people in the U.S., which employ nearly 90,000 people across the country.
- Woman Power
This is probably our most favorite fact (sorry, we’re not sorry). Women hold 61% to 85% of all PR jobs in the world, and 59% of all PR managers are female, although only 30% of all global PR agencies are run by women CEO’s. But that’s ok—we’re about to change all that. #WomenRule (trust us, they will!)