Here are some helpful definitions to assist you in the public relations arena, whether you're new to the field or just want to know the difference.
1. Community Relations-Enhancing your organizations participation and position within a community through outreach efforts for the mutual benefit of the organization and the community. (See Public Affairs)
2. Crisis Management-Maintaining relations with the public, government agencies,news media, employees, shareholders, and other affected parties on behalf of an organization involved in a crisis situation.
3. Employee Relations-Typically representing an organization's management to inform and motivate the organization's employees through internal communications, training, awards programs, and other events.
4. Government Affairs-Representing an organization's interests to governing bodies and regulatory agencies, often through direct "lobbying" efforts, and also through public relations and other PR activities building issue constituencies.
5. Internal Communications-Serves as a conduit for information flow between management and the ranks. Grounded in communication theory, IC taps tools of newsletters, Intranet pages, management memos, position statements, presentations and special events to disseminate information regarding company updates, management policies, Human Resources issues & benefits, business initiatives, crisis management, etc.
6. Investor Relations-Developing confidence and positive relations for your organization with investors in the financial community. Also called Financial Relations and Shareholder Relations.
7. Marketing Communications-Within the four P's of Marketing (Product, Price, Place, Promotion), PR helps meet the marketing communication needs of promotion (along with components of the other P's) to advance sales of products and services. PR plays a role in advertising, publicity, packaging, point-of-sale display, trade shows, and special events. Also called Marcom.
8. Media Relations-Conducting outreach or responding to the news media on behalf of your organization or client. Media relations is often considered a specialized function within a public relations campaign.
9. Public Affairs-Involving your organization in the development of public policy, or helping to adapt your organization to public expectations. Public Affairs is sometimes used synonymously to refer to public relations activities (especially in the government and military).
10. Public Relations-There are many definitions of Public Relations, ranging from the profound to the profane. In a phrase (courtesy of the Public Relations Society of America), "Public Relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other."
11. Publicity-Furthering your organization's or clients interest through target-media coverage of strategic messages and events. A good publicist knows how to work the angles for free media coverage.