PR Professionals: What We Really Do

In Lauren Fernandez’s 53 signs you work in public relations states “You proudly put ‘PR pro’ in your Twitter bio, knowing it’s the one place you don’t have to explain your job.”

What do PR professionals do? It’s a question that many people seek for an answer.

People know that advertising professionals can place advertisements almost everywhere: television, music, movies, newspapers, magazines, coffee mugs, web banners, etc. But when it comes to public relations, an image of a blonde standing in 5-inch heels with her laptop bag while chatting with business leaders (a la Samantha Jones) will appear on people’s minds.

Is that true? Sometimes. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Compared to advertising professionals, PR pros aim to reduce costs for cooperations/organizations by raising public awareness, managing social reputation, and publicizing the corporate/organization culture in a subtle and natural way.

PR pros are social media pros. They are the first ones to embrace the new wave of new media, master the skills and to quickly adapt. With 800 million active users on Facebook, 140 million users on Twitter, 11.7 million users on Pinterest by January 2012, social media demonstrates the power to influence important organization-consumer relationships, and PR pros know how to put  this mutually-beneficial communication into practice: observe people’s discussions, analyze ethnographic information, and communicate to their audience and potential audience with different strategies.

PR pros are networking pros. Using excellent writing skills and appealing news to attract journalists, the job of a PR pro is to cultivate and maintain relationships with media. PR pros also network with their major target audience. But what is also important is a professional understanding and unique insight into business strategy and the ability to network.

Edward Boches, a BU advertising professor and Chief Innovation Officer at Mullen, said “PR people are the only people who know how to engage 1 to 1 with consumers for a brand” compared to in-house marketers and advertising.

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