What is Public Affairs and How is it Different from Public Relations? Desiree Peterkin Bell Explains

Published March 30, 2023

Public affairs is an umbrella term that can refer to any form of communication in which the intent is to foster relationships with a wide range of public and/or to influence public opinion, explains Desiree Peterkin Bell. This can include lobbying, public relations, advocacy, grassroots campaigning, or philanthropy. Public affairs professionals help organizations frame their messages so they are persuasive and understandable to particular audiences.

Public relations also refers to a form of communication with the intent of influencing public opinion. The major difference is that PR professionals generally focus on communicating messages for one company or organization whereas Public Affairs professionals often represent more than one company or organization. Additionally, PR specialists are more likely to be employed by corporations while Public Affairs specialists might work directly for government agencies.

The Difference Between Public Affairs and Public Relations

Public affairs and public relations both have the same goal: to influence public opinion. But what sets them apart?

Public affairs can be a component of public relations that involves promoting the public’s understanding of an organization’s policies and actions, Desiree Peterkin Bell says. Public affairs functions to develop and maintain a positive opinion of the organization by regulatory and government entities, the media, and the public.

The fundamental difference between public affairs and public relations is that the former is involved with government relations, regulatory agencies, the media and making impact, whereas PR focuses on strengthening the relationships with stakeholders and only media.

Public affairs professionals generally represent more than one company or organization. They are also often employed by government agencies. PR specialists are more likely to be employed by corporations. Additionally, PR specialists usually focus on one message while Public Affairs specialists help frame messages so they are persuasive and understandable to particular audiences.

What Are the Benefits of Public Affairs vs. Public Relations?

The benefits of public affairs are that they can involve a wide range of communication tactics, including grassroots campaigning, philanthropy, advocacy, and lobbying. For example, public affairs professionals might be able to help convince the government to mandate a new law or change the way an existing law is enforced. For example, Desiree and her team at DPBell & Associates, was hired to assist, advise and develop a strategy to raise awareness and solicit feedback for this legislative priority that was spearheaded by the youngest delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates, Lashrecse Aird.  Desiree Peterkin Bell and DPBell and Associates successfully crafted a plan to help get the bill passed and then upon public signature, coordinated a national press conference, between the offices of Delegate Aird, Governor Ralph Northam, the family of Breonna Taylor and Civil Rights Attorney and Advocate Benjamin Crump, to ensure that Breonna’s Law made history and was highlighted to the nation and the world.

Public relations tend to be more focused on one company or organization than public affairs. Public relations professionals often work for corporations and are responsible for creating a positive image of their employer. They may also play a role in recruiting talented employees or product developers for their company.

In terms of benefits, you could say public affairs is more versatile because it covers many forms of communication whereas PR is usually just about one company’s message. The downside is that you have less specialization in public affairs since you’re doing many different things.

Desiree Peterkin Bell Gives Us A Few Key Examples of Public Affairs Work

– In the interest of government transparency and accountability, a public affairs specialist might work with journalists to help them better understand policy issues or distribute facts about a particular issue.

– A public affairs specialist might also work with private companies to help them prepare for possible legislation.

– A public affairs specialist can also be responsible for shaping the image of a company’s employees in the eyes of the public.

Information contained on this page is provided by an independent third-party content provider. Binary News Network and this Site make no warranties or representations in connection therewith. If you are affiliated with this page and would like it removed please contact contact@binarynewsnetwork.com

Binary News Network

Binary News Network is a Content Syndication Platform that allows businesses or proprietary newswires to bring visibility to their content by syndicating it to premium, high-visibility networks and sites and drive visibility to your online content.