Why PR may just be the perfect career you've never considered.


Why PR may just be the perfect career you've never considered.

When I tell people that I work in public relations (PR), they tend to nod and say "ahh.. nice", in the way that says they have absolutely no idea what i’m talking about.

I interned in various PR agencies before making the leap to London after I graduated, where I started working in my first PR job around 8 months ago. Having gained some experience in the industry, and after realising that a lot of people don’t understand what it entails, I wanted to talk about what working in PR means, what the job entails and why it's a wonderfully varied and exciting job that no one knows about, just as it should be.

What is PR?

To explain in the simplest of terms, PR is essentially the communications middleman.

We connect brands with the media, giving companies a platform to raise awareness around what they do within their industry. We are often confused with marketing, but in fact we work alongside marketing departments of the brands we represent. Of course, there are different types of PR for different types of media, and most will probably recall celebrity PR's and political spin doctors as examples, mainly because they tend to receive the worst press!

To the general public however, you could say PR is an invisible job.

There's so much work that goes into getting brands into the mainstream media, such as newspapers, online publications and radio and it's all carried out behind the scenes, on the behalf of the client. This means that most people I talk to have no idea what I actually do on a day-to-day basis. No day is ever the same, as I juggle responsibilities over a range of clients across a host of industries.

Working in PR means you need to have good communication skills in all areas: reading, comprehension, writing and speaking.

We are the eyes and ears of everything going on in the world and industries that are relevant to our clients. We then need to be able to communicate a brand's thought-leadership to journalists and why our clients are part of the change going on. We spend a lot of time on the phone trying to get this message across to them. When this works, like magic, news, comments or articles appear about our client in the press. Et voila!

The good and the bad

The most interesting and favourite part of my job is writing. Everything I write is attached to a specific brief, audience and brand message, and I love the structure this provides.

I found out late in my third year of university that jobs in writing existed in sectors other than journalism, writing and publishing. I wanted to find a career which would enable me to write on a daily basis, but none of these options appealed to me. It's a shame that no one knows that PR is an amazing opportunity for budding writers - although your name is never going to be at the bottom of an article when you're representing a client, making us practically ghost writers.

No one enjoys every aspect of their job, and some parts I like less, such as coverage reporting and phone pitching to the media, however, the beauty of my job is the variety. I may have to work on a slightly boring task for 20 minutes, but I know that the next task will be exciting!

The single most satisfying part of the job has to be seeing content your team has drafted, pitched and secured go online for the world to see. It makes all the slog worth it, as well as giving you a happy client! It can be stressful and hectic, it’s rarely quiet, but it's always interesting.

I'm always learning about topics that I never knew about before, simply because I need to stay up-to-date with the news. PR requires a lot of reading and understanding of topics you'll have previously known nothing about, and you have to get up to speed quickly.

My job can often feel like a whirlwind, and I was exhausted during the first few weeks as I got to grips with my responsibilities. Now I feel much more comfortable and confident in my ability, though it can still feel very fast-paced!

I would say that public relations feels like an invisible job because our names are never present at the end of an article, the credit belongs to the journalist or to the brand. We are the voice representing our brands in the media, like an exterior department that is never publicly credited.

Our audience is not supposed to know we're there, and if they do, then we're not doing our jobs properly! Therefore, it's unlikely that most people will understand what working in PR means, because often they are not aware the job itself exists. It makes explaining what I do a bit harder, but it's a job that is always incredibly rewarding and exciting.

Written by: Fiona Call

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