Oftentimes when people think of PR, they think of the glamorous Samantha Jones from the hit TV series Sex and the City. Samantha’s life as a publicist consists of planning luxurious parties, traveling to exotic places around the world, rubbing elbows with celebrities, having lunch with her best friends during the day and attending parties with them at night.
Unfortunately, PR is not all about the glitz and glamour of events and celebrities.
PR is not all about party planning. Although there may be some PR campaigns that require events, most PR firms go beyond the simple press release and try to capture their target audience by using different techniques and strategies to create a multi-faceted PR campaign. From social media to target pitches, online promotional content to media kits, there is much more than simply ‘party planning.’ Many times this work is done behind a desk, not in a coffee shop or trendy NYC club.
PR is not just for ‘people persons.’ Repeatedly I have heard that if you tell an interviewer, “I am a people person,” you will not be hired. PR is not a profession suited towards a certain personality type, but it is more about strategic thinking and problem solving skills, along with creative abilities. It is good that you may enjoy working with other people, but if you think about it, we are all humans who interact with people on a daily basis and move through life based on relationships we’ve made. Doesn’t that make us all ‘people persons’?
PR is not easy. If you have been watching a lot of Sex and the City, then, yes, I can see why you might think PR is easy. However, the reality is that PR is hard. It is more than just a job, it is a career, where people put many hours into their work, even after leaving the office. PR professionals have to make sure that they understand the needs and objectives of their clients in order to develop the best solutions to help clients meet their business goals. Commonly, this means meeting close deadlines in a short time and thinking on your feet; two actions that are not easy.
To anyone who might find this realization disappointing, don’t be discouraged. PR is still exciting and fast paced, but in a different way than Hollywood frames it. If you are committed and passionate about what you are doing, the hours of work won’t seem like work at all.