Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the communication between a company and groups important to the company -- employees, customers, members of a community or the industry in which the company operates.
In the past, the term typically referred to gaining positive publicity for a company, individual, cause, etc. Today, the term can apply to a wide range of communication practices and channels, including public speaking, events, crisis communications, social media, employee communications and more. Unlike advertising, public relations typically refers to media coverage that is not directly paid for. However, new marketing techniques ranging from product placement to sponsorships are blurring the lines between paid advertising and "earned" media coverage.