It’s true that no one person’s path in life is the same. However, we can all relate to having similar childhood memories – that is, older relatives pinching our cheeks or going in for the awkward kiss, and even encouraging our all-too-ambitious dream of becoming the first [insert unrealistic job].
Of course, we all experienced the same question: “What are you going to be when you grow up?” You can bet that no nine-year-old is going to say, “I want to be a PR account executive!” After all, no child sees PR as being a flashy and glamorous lifestyle, do they? Well that’s where you’d be wrong.
Thanks to our lovely Samantha Jones from Sex & the City, played by Kim Cattrall, some aspiring PR college students enter into a communication-based major with dreams of red carpets, Hollywood party planning, designer shoes, and dresses; or, what is also known as the “celebrity lifestyle.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but I definitely haven’t been able to squeeze my feet into a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s because of it.
Before I completely crush your public relations dreams, there are several fun aspects of pursuing a PR job. But before you can get excited about these perks, it’s important to come to terms with the many PR misconceptions that, thanks to E! and Bravo, have been planted into the minds of young women everywhere.
Believe it or not, we’re not all 5’10, size 2 women, wearing bright pumps and fitted black dresses while driving a Prius. This is NOT what PR is. Sure, it’s important to take into consideration where you are living and what kind of PR you want to specialize in (B2B vs. consumer products vs. services vs. entertainment), but for the most part, agencies consist of all types of people from different backgrounds. That’s what truly makes for a fun and cultured work environment.
So if you’re headed to your first PR internship, don’t feel the need to blow all your savings on an overtly sexy mini dress and some stilettos.
Remember that the most important thing when entering into your first internship experience is to hone in on your communication and writing skills, make yourself readily available to anyone that needs assistance, and be open to the fact that, while you might not get to go to a fabulous event or meet a celebrity, you will learn more about PR in your first internship than you did during your entire four years in school.
You will hear this next piece of advice enough if you are thinking about going into public relations, but the truth of the matter is that PR is really more about the proper way to build relationships with the media and less about demanding attention for your client. Unlike our dear friend Samantha, you can’t just say that you want your account’s product or services to be on the cover of Vogue at the drop of a hat.
If you’ve had any experience working with the media, then you know that asking for a favor before an established relationship does not always work in your favor. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world where every important news outlet knows who we are by just saying our name. It’s not about how “important” you are in the PR world, but how many connections you’ve made. Remember that good things will come if you focus on networking, do your research and create a mutually beneficial work relationship with members of the media.
Of course red carpets and premiere events seem glamorous, but they are not typically included in the many “perks” of being a PR rep. Of course there are publicity jobs in large markets that consist of a more glitzy lifestyle, but it’s definitely not an important aspect of the job. While flashing cameras and big city backdrops are the common scene that we see on network television, most of the work that any PR executive does is behind the scenes.
So right about now you might be asking yourself, “What is PR?” Here’s the detailed version: We organize press tours, set up trade events, conduct media outreach, create contributed content, submit for speaking and awards submissions, set up client interviews, and create brand awareness.
And now for the 30,000-foot version: We establish relationships with the media to earn and/or create a story angle that is best suited for the editor and our client. There is nothing more rewarding than creating a campaign from the ground up and working with trusted contacts to make the big picture come to life for your client, whether it’s a story or an event! Just check out some of BLASTmedia’s recently secured press coverage for some examples.
If you are interested in learning more about how seasoned PR professionals can help your brand, contact BLASTmedia’s Lindsey Groepper. PR pro yourself? Help yourself to more of our helpful PR tips to add to your current media relations plans.