People have their own vision of what public relations is really about. Whether you learned from TV, movies or from watching crisis PR personnel during a press conference “spin” a story, everyone has their own image of what the career is like.
However, once you’ve worked in the industry, you learn that there are many portrayals of the field that are incorrect.
Public Relations and Advertising Are the Same Thing
Although the two are in the same field, advertising and PR are very different when it comes to the finer details. One of the best ways to describe it, is: Advertising is a one-way road, where the advertiser is on one side and the client is one the other. The advertiser delivers a product to the client and is done. PR, is much more like a two-way road, with many continuous back and forth trips between the PR professionals and the client.
PR Professionals Don’t Tell the Truth
The public has the notion that people in the PR profession are all about lies, smoke and mirrors. However, that is incorrect. Our industry is all about portraying the truth and developing relationships with the public based on trust and communication. When trust is lost with the public, it is very difficult to regain that footing. The PR “professionals” who lie are discovered and brought to attention.
Everything is Luck
For those who do not understand the PR industry, they think when a campaign gets super popular it’s luck. However, they don’t realize all the hours of strategy, prep work and detail that goes into every single campaign for each account. So it isn’t luck—it’s tactic.
All of my friends and family think I have this fun and easy job. While, yes, it’s a lot of fun— but it isn’t easy. The reality is that you have extreme deadlines that seem impossible to meet, put hours and hours (and hours and hours) into a project for a client to only have them change their mind on the concept, and can never get the job off your brain. I’ll find myself thinking up strategies, campaigns and general ideas way after office hours while I shower, eat dinner, about to fall asleep, etc.
Public Relations Professionals Stick to the Classics
Yes, sometimes it is important to stick to PR classics like press releases and white papers. However, if you don’t evolve with the industry you’re left in the dust. That means picking up and becoming an expert on the current trend and using it to your, and your clients, advantage to reap the benefits.
While there are perks to the career, it isn’t as glamorous as the media portrays it. There is a lot of hard work that goes into it and unfortunately not everything can be handled while shopping for a great pair of boots or in the backseat of a limo. To be successful in the career you have to be dedicated to the industry and be willing to accept the long hours and curveballs that are thrown your way.