So you’re considering a career in public relations. Excellent! You’ll be working on building stronger relationships between your client and their audience and solidifying their media presence across multiple outlets. When you look up PR careers online, however, you’re likely to come across a lot of misconceptions about what we do. Including ‘PR is a glam job’ or ‘PR is unethical’. As you can imagine, neither of those are true, and the fact that ideas like that still circulate shows how little the world understands of the way PR operates. Here, we clear up some of the myths about working in PR so that you know what you’re getting into.
- If you know marketing, you know PR – Many people think that marketing and PR are the same department, and it’s true that there’s a good amount of overlap, especially in terms of social media promotion and content creation. However, marketing focuses on promoting the company’s products and services, while PR focuses on managing the company’s brand image and reputation. In addition, while marketing uses paid media for the most part, PR relies mostly on unpaid or earned media to share its story.
- Anyone who writes can do PR – Think that you’re automatically set to excel at PR because you have writing experience? Wrong. Writing is a part of it, certainly, but you’ll also need to be an excellent coordinator to handle all the media events and internal meetings that will be a part of your day. You need a keen eye for detail to identify the best media outlet for each story, and you need the perseverance to keep pitching to journalists and following up with clients for their inputs. Not to mention, you need the grit to work long nights and weekends, find backup plans in case there are last-minute bailouts and still be alert enough to produce exceptional copy for the morning news release.
- PR is basically spin – No matter what the movies will have you think, PR can’t devise a viral story out of thin air, nor can it make a company look good even after a scandal. PR serves as a bridge between the media and the client, which means that a PR agency can present the client’s brand in a positive light, craft appropriate responses to various situations and provide the widest exposure possible. And that comes from strategic thought and multiple iterations of each idea, not magic.
- PR can guarantee top media placements – Many people think that PR agencies have the chief editors of Entrepreneur and Forbes in their back pocket. While we wish that were true, we have to pitch to journalists and news outlets for every new story, in competition with other PR agencies with their own stories. Sometimes our pitches make it to the top journals, sometimes we go with the mid-tier ones. What we do ensure, however, is that each client gets exposure to the most appropriate audience for their content, even if it’s a niche one.
- PR is fluff – This shouldn’t even be on the list, but all too often people think PR folks just dress glamorously and go to parties. We do, but we’re also handling the behind-the-scenes at those parties, coordinating with everyone making a media appearance, interviewing attendees and then going straight home to draft a press release about it. The work always comes first for us, even after hours. We do, however, also know how to have fun.
Hopefully this clears things up for you and convinces you to join the tough yet rewarding world of public relations. If you’re curious, attentive to detail, love networking and have the drive to succeed, you’ll find that PR is the ideal career for you. And if you’re looking to get the best career start possible, drop us a line at Star Squared PR with your statement of interest. We’d love to see if you’re a fit.