One of the simplest definitions of public relations is “doing good and telling people about it.”
A more formal definition might be “the process by which we create and maintain a favorable climate of public opinion to help us achieve our mission.”
Organizations, associations and individuals gain public goodwill through “enlightened self interest”—successfully explaining how their activities benefit their publics. Those publics might include the surrounding community, hospital administrators, patients, other healthcare specialists and colleagues.
This successful explaining is conducted through various forms of communication, frequently through news media, including newspapers, radio, television and trade or industry publications. Communications vehicles may include letters, news releases, media kits, direct media contact, special events and public service announcements. Unlike advertising, public relations does not include communicating through paid media placement, but instead relies on unpaid and therefore, unguaranteed but more credible, third-party endorsed placement.