It’s time to combat the common misconceptions of public relations, the field I just happen to work in.
Often, in fact, quite often, when people find out I work in public relations, I get this response, “So do you write press releases all day?” Thankfully (as much as I enjoy writing press releases), the answer is no. But it isn’t a constant gathering of martini lunches either. This is another delusion I frequently get slapped with as well. It makes one wonder – what does a PR executive do all day? I guess you could say I have a PR problem on my hands! How do I accurately convey and educate others on what my job entails? I guess more importantly how do I demonstrate the true value of public relations?
I had a professor in college who drilled into my head that a PR practitioner is a strategic communicator. Umm … the statement still makes me think everyone in a way should be strategic in how they approach their given task. In PR, however, we are often tasked with a spectrum to handle that includes everything from communications and perceptions to even brand management. Being strategic is a key component and helps get the job done … but also allows us to tap into the needs of the various audiences we are trying to reach.
So, yes, I do write press releases. But I certainly don’t do it all day! I also develop messaging to support the launch of a high profile event, respond to a crisis (this can last for months) or even overall brand message of what a company is and does. Here at Regan Communications I work with the media — and that means all kinds of media including TV, radio, online, bloggers, etc.
I also do research. Knowing “Sally X” moved to a new TV show is really important – not gossip. Even discovering it’s “National Muffin Day” can be an important way to pitch out a story!
There’s also a major travel component to public relations. Though some might think this is the best part of any job, it is, in reality, hard work. Work being the operative word. In short, you are in constant motion and thinking about ways to improve your clients overall communications strategy.
So to summarize, what is the true value of public relations? Well there’s audience awareness; product differentiation; unique branding opportunities; restored client reputations following a crisis; major lede generation; behavioral change. And last but not least, revenue.
Is there anything else I’m missing?