Contrary to what others may believe, working in Public Relations does not make automatically you Samantha Jones. Furthermore, it involves a lot more than just planning events and attending glamorous parties.
I personally love working in PR. From the media coverage to the content writing, I genuinely enjoy coming into work every day. (And I promise I’m not just saying that in case my co-workers read this.)
So this article is for my fellow PR friends. Here are 8 things that all people who work in PR know to be true:
1. As a result of your delirium from lack of sleep, Dory from Finding Nemo has appeared at your cubicle is singing, “Just keep pitching, just keep pitching.”
Although you envision reporters jumping at the chance to write your prospective stories, in reality you’re often refreshing an empty inbox. (Okay, let’s be honest – it’s NEVER empty for morethan 5 minutes, but they are not from who you want.)
Pitching can be frustrating when little progress is being made, but that feeling you get when you can finally sense a reporter’s actual excitement about writing an article? It makes it all worthwhile.
2. You laugh at the fact that you used to think that social media management simply meant posting about your association on Facebook and Twitter.
Social media? Of course I can do that! I tweet like, every day. And my tweets are pretty good.
Ha. Then you quickly learned about reporting metrics, encouraging engagement, and managing multiple requests at once without blowing up the newsfeed or timeline. (Yes – that’s still annoying in the corporate world.)
3. You used to pride yourself on not needing caffeine to make it through the day, and now that’s physically impossible.
Caffeine often makes me jittery, but you know what else makes me jittery? Realizing that I’m on the verge of missing a deadline. At some point in the day, you’ll come to terms with the fact that you are incapable of looking at one more media list without dozing off.
When you notice yourself twitching uncontrollably, this isn’t alarming anymore. Sure, you might sound a little overly pumped up during your conference call with the client, but hey – is that really such a bad thing? In fact, there’s a good chance that they will appreciate the enthusiasm.
4. You begin to apply PR to your daily life, and can’t be stopped.
You’ll scoff at a commercial in disgust and say, “Please. Do they really not know who their target audience is? That PR person should be fired.”
You might even go on to discuss how you would go about that marking campaign, and explain all of the reasons why it would be more successful.
Your friends will pretend to agree, but they really just want you to stop talking. Immediately.
5. You’ve mastered the art of investigation, often better coined as “stalking.”
From frantically trolling LinkedIn profiles to hunting down contact information like your life depended on it, you don’t give up easily. When your friends mention that they were “stalking someone on Instagram”, you’ll smile knowing that they have NO idea the lengths you have gone through just to get a reporter’s personal email. Amateurs.
6. Even when you’re not working, you’re still working.
You might come home around 6 pm, but still find yourself frantically checking your work email to make sure you have, in fact, fulfilled all requests. You also may or may not have woken up at 3 am to a terrifying nightmare that you messed up something huge at work.
My co-worker says that she frequently dreams about Excel documents. And honesty, I can’t say that I haven’t done the same.
7. You truly understand the importance of attention to detail.
There’s a good chance that “attention to detail” has been something mentioned as an important skill in just about every job interview you’ve ever had. It’s tremendously critical in various fields, and PR is no exception.
Made a typo in a press release? Go hide under your desk, and don’t come out for the rest of the day.
Sent a report with incorrect formatting? Bye.
Called a client by the wrong name? It’s time to find the nearest window to jump out of.
PR is all about confirming and triple-checking. While it may initially seem like a drag, it eventually becomes routine.
One careless mistake has reminded you that it’s worth it to check for approval – even though you’re 99% sure that it’s good to go.
8. People don’t always understand the importance of what you do.
Some guy at the bar pretending to be interested in your life asks what you do. You respond, “I work in PR.”
“That’s cool,” he says, looking around to make sure there aren’t hotter girls he could be hitting on. “So…event planning and stuff? I should have known. You look like you know how to party.”
Right… well, that’s enough of that.
Sometimes it can be irritating attempting to explain your job to others, but deep down you know it doesn’t matter whether they understand.
At the end of the day, despite the stressful workload and back-to-back conference calls, you just couldn’t see yourself doing anything else. And you would never want to.