I’ll never forget the day my careers councillor told me I was perfectly suited for a career in PR. I thought you’re right, I am so PR! I love going to events, I love social media and I LOVE talking. However, it was not long after this when I actually began studying Public Relations that I realised it was not the champagne swilling, cocktail party career path I had initially perceived it to be #dreamshattered.
I like most people had absolutely no idea what PR was and if I’m being frank, this continues to be one of the biggest challenges I’m faced with as a PR professional, every day. As it seems most people still have absolutely no idea what PR is and I’m here to explain why.
The real PR work lies behind the scenes “we pitch the stories, journalists write them. We write the speeches, executives deliver them. We plan the corporate social responsibility campaign, the CEO accepts the accolades” (source: Communications Catalyst).
And, by understanding what exactly happens behind these scenes will give you a deeper understanding of what PR is, what goes into getting your brand into the press and why it is such an important part of the marketing mix.
PR includes a variety of approaches to get a brand talked about, ranging from creating strategies to position a brand within the marketplace; structuring the right PR pitch to open media doors for a brand; leveraging relationships with media to tell a brand’s story; identifying the right social influencer/ blogger to align with a brand; creatively coaching influencers to develop content for a brand; developing and executing innovative PR launches; and proactive media monitoring for potential brand opportunities.
So unlike Advertising (paid media), or a company’s owned media such as websites and social media channels, PR (earned media) requires a third party (newspaper, blog, digital magazine, influencer) to endorse or talk about the brand.
It’s no longer as simple as tailoring a press release and sending it to the masses in the hopes of it going viral for a relatively low cost.
People misunderstand the job of a PR professional, often thinking that simply “PRing it” results in instant media coverage. First of all that makes no sense, and secondly this is certainly not the case. Unless your brand happens to be the PRable equivalent of Tom Cruise, you need a PR professional who knows the secret ingredients required to entice the media towards your story, and you need to be willing to invest the right amount of money to make this story as newsworthy as it needs to be. Basically, you need someone who knows how to make the media care.
So, despite the initial disappointment, I’ve since realised just how right my careers counsellor was about me. I am perfect for PR because I LOVE talking and let’s be honest, there’s a science to it. A science in what makes someone want to talk about a brand.