Public affairs vs. public relations: What is the difference?

People sometimes use the terms interchangeably, but there are clear differences between the two, and they have discrete goals.

Ragan Insider Content

The two types of firms have overlapping qualities, which can make it difficult to find the right choice for your organization’s objectives. Both qualify in building relationships with the public and implementing strategies and campaigns, but their methods and goals differ.

Public affairs relates to matters that concern the public directly. This could include legislation, policing, and public administration, as well as other elements.

Public relations, on the other hand, focuses more on the company’s connection with the public. PR firms could enhance and strengthen that relationship by implementing marketing and campaigning policies or through press releases. PR is often regarded as an extension of the advertising department.

Messaging tends to be less commercial and short-term in the world of public affairs. This is because organizations are homing in on local issues, including matters between the public and a legislative body. There is great importance in building strong and trusting relations between the organization and the community. What it seeks is support against its detractors.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.