For all of the rants I see about the difficulties inherent in public relations work, starting with how the profession typically is ranked as one of the most stressful occupations year-after-year and ending with stories of clients behaving badly, I truly enjoy my career as a PR professional.
Here are seven reasons why:
- I tell stories. As a professional communicator, I have the privilege of sharing information across many mediums and with many audiences every day. With the media landscape changing – between the growth of social media platforms, blogging and video content, and the shrinking of newsrooms everywhere – it’s a full-time job keeping up with how, where and when those stories can be communicated – and it’s one I relish. More than ever, a responsibility lies on public relations practitioners to create well-written, fact-checked copy that presents compelling information to those who need it most and to find suitable outlets to publicize those stories. In doing so, I help companies get the word out about their products or services and aid non-profits in spreading their mission. I also get to serve readers, listeners and viewers. That’s powerful work!
- I dream big and innovate. I am often charged with turning the meh and into the marvelous, and that’s fun. I get to come up with creative campaigns, elevate ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings into media worthy events and find clever ways to convey messages. I craft solutions to business dilemmas, make products palpable, sell services smartly, hone-in on new hashtags and more. Whether it’s a coin dump for charity to promote a bank, a social media contest in honor of National Physical Therapy Month, or a Leap for Autism skydiving event, the work my team and I do is varied and exciting. I tell students and recent graduates who inquire about working in public relations or marketing that no two days are alike – and that the unknown can be the best part.
- I talk business. With the industry moving away from AVEs and other vanity metrics and having real conversations about business goals and outcomes, I get to sit around the table, at client meetings, with the CEO, CMO, executive director, business development team and other decision-makers, and be alongside them when strategic plans are discussed.
- I move forward. PR has become a more integrated discipline and it’s about time! My present job involves more than scoring media placements, though that’s still a part of my day, and involves skillfully telling stories over paid, earned, social and owned channels (or, as Gini Dietrich memorably calls it, PESO).
- I develop fruitful relationships. Public relations professionals help businesses connect more directly with communities. When done well, we help build bridges between the media and our clients, customers and stakeholders, non-profit partners and private entities, and more. And, we even make some friends along the way. It’s one of the most gratifying parts of the job.
- I’m part of a close-knit community. While I can’t speak for other professions, I am proud of the spirit of camaraderie and cooperation that most of our industry exhibits. From Spin Sucks, an invaluable professional development resource for those in the PR and marketing realm, to Counselors Academy, a national professional interest section of PRSA that focuses on the business of agency PR and a group that fosters the concept of us being in this thing together, there’s lots to be thankful for. These communities have been essential to me as a business owner and I know I’m in good company.
- I help inspire, educate, inform and change minds and behaviors. Moving people to action and shaping their thoughts around a topic and, in time, their behaviors, is nothing to sneeze at. How many other professions can bring about such important change? It’s a serious responsibility and an honor.