If you are a PR student or professional, one or both scenarios might be all too familiar:
Person: “So what are you going to school for?”
You: “Public relations.”
Person: “Okay,” laughs, “…And what are you going to do with that?”
Person: “So what do you do for a living?”
You: “Public Relations.”
Person: “Oh okay, so you plan events and stuff? You go on TV? It’s basically glorified customer service, right?”
With PR professionals being portrayed by characters like Samantha Jones from Sex and the City and television shows attempting to show the ins and outs of the industry like SPINdustry and Spin Crowd, it is evident why the general public has the wrong view of what public relations actually is. People think it is about planning events, being on television, and being a socialite. It really irks me when people laugh and question what kind of living one can make out of PR or when they try to define PR to me when they have no idea.
Interestingly enough, I chose the field of PR by mistake, but it happened to work out for me.
I initially wanted to go into broadcast journalism, but I wanted a more stable career path to success. My father suggested I look into PR. He said something along the lines of, “Well, we have a PR person at my job, and pretty much all they do is go on TV and act as a spokesperson for the company. So it’s the same thing [as broadcast journalism], but at least you’ll be working for a company, so you don’t have to move around a lot with different TV networks.”
Now, I realize that being on TV has little or nothing to do with the job of most PR professionals. In smaller companies, it may be the case that there are only a few members of a PR department (or possibly even one person that encompasses all that is PR for the company), and thus the person writing the script may also be the one on-camera. However, the majority of PR jobs have little to do with being the on TV.
To be successful in PR, a person must be a great writer. Writing is much of what PR entails – from writing copy for brochures, websites, social media, TV and radio spots, and press releases to writing pitch letters to potential clients; ghostwriting speeches, op-eds, letters to shareholders from corporate executives; and employee newsletters. Everything that a PR professional does involves writing. In fact, a textbook definition of PR may define it as conveying cohesive and concise messages from organizations to their publics. How do we usually communicate these messages? Through writing. And who are these publics? The organization’s publics are both internal and external. Its internal publics may be executive management, employees, and shareholders. Its external publics may be its target audiences, consumers, communities, and the general public can be just a few of an organization’s publics.
I am lucky because I fell into this field, and I happen to love writing. It worked out for me, but if you think PR is all about the glamour and glitz of planning events, being on TV, and mingling with socialites, you may want to pick another career choice.
If you are a PR student or professional, what would you define PR as?
- PR Executive, one of the most stressful job (marketingconversation.com)
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- Public Relations As One of the Most Stressful Careers: Top 25 Pr Agency Ceo, Ronn Torossian Agrees (ronntorossian.com)
- Tired of Attacks Upon The Public Relations Industry: Goodbye Paper Bond – Lets Attack a PR Agency ! (ronntorossian.com)
- How to Define Public Relations (mpdailyfix.com)
- Is PUBLIC RELATIONS a Bad Word? (biznik.com)
- PR Dummies: The Self-Deprecating Mr. Jones [PR Dummies] (gawker.com)
- We’re all in Public Relations (montyrainey.wordpress.com)
- What is PR? (socialrelationsblog.wordpress.com)