Define Public Relations

Ask someone to define public relations and you’ll get a million different answers, even among PR pros.

When I taught graduate-level courses in PR, I would always provide the textbook definition from Fraser P. Seitel (The Practice of Public Relations), which was rather long and convoluted and something about managing relations across various organizational platforms.

Fraser P. Seitel (The Practice of Public Relations)

Fraser P. Seitel (The Practice of Public Relations)


When I took graduate-level courses in PR (thanks Harry!), I discovered what still stands as the best definition of PR: “Good deeds, well told.”

Companies that are doing good deeds, helping their customers truly succeed, providing a valuable product or service, raising the bar of general humanity…are doing good deeds.

Now, whether or not those good deeds are being well told is another question. If no one knows about your good deeds or if you are doing a poor job of telling your story, those good deeds will go unnoticed and you won’t get the credit you so rightfully deserve.

All things being equal, who would you rather buy from, a company that is, or isn’t, doing good deeds? If your company and its employees are truly doing good deeds that aren’t being well told, we need to talk.