Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Public Relations is. . .

I find I have to explain what I do to people a lot. When I worked for a company or non-profit where I was the sole PR person, it was a constant push-pull with my colleagues as to what I was supposed to do vs. what they were asking me to do.

Working for an agency, my co-workers clearly know what it is that I do because they do the same thing. It's kinda nice to be able to bounce ideas off of someone who gets it. The challenge now is making the client understand what it is that we do for them.

Honestly, my own family probably has a hard time really understanding what it is that I do with my work, so here is my short and sweet way of trying to explain it to the world.

Public Relations is:

  • NEW: one of the only industries that has the word "disaster" or "nightmare" behind it when you hear about it in public. Like "Paula Deen is dealing with a Public Relations disaster." Or "The BP oil spill is STILL a PR nightmare."
  • NEW: something you only hear about when it goes wrong. When it goes right, people think that you did nothing at all. 
  • Working with the media to try and get your company/brand/product or your client's company/brand/product mentioned in a positive light on TV, the radio, in a newspaper story, online or via social media.
  • being excruciatingly detailed in working plans for events.
  • being able to toss out said plans at a moment's notice when stuff doesn't work out exactly as you had it drawn up.
  • event planning.
  • working hard for all reporters and having some of them hate you. 
  • spending all day setting up an interview to have it called off because Justin Bieber got in a car accident. 
  • working with mascots and crazy mascot rules, and the crazier people that abide by those rules on the daily.
  • saying stuff like "unfortunately, we can't move the priceless work of art that weighs 2,000 lbs because it's in your eye line as you're giving an interview. Perhaps you can just ignore it or maybe move as you weigh less than the art?" with a straight face. 
  • feeling elated when politicians cite a statistic you provided them with in a media interview or otherwise on the record.
  • seeing your spokesperson and information correctly represented in a news story.
  • having a speaker you prepped deliver everything exactly as you had told him or her to deliver it. 
  • being an impromptu graphic designer when stuff has to get changed immediately and you have to pull a Tim Gunn.
  • having a sense of gratification when you see a sizzle reel of all the work you did.
  • knowing what a sizzle reel is.
  • convincing people you work for that you can't just call up the major newspaper in your city and have them come out to cover a check presentation ceremony.
  • reading a lot and writing a lot. 
  • knowing you'll probably end up working with a lot of women. 
  • becoming an expert in things you never knew you'd know like the difference between heart disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease or how to earn a Girl Scouts patch or why librarians are so disgruntled. 
  • so much more than working with the media. 
Okay, PR friends, what else am I missing?

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