Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a swanky business networking event in the city. As many of these types of events tend to go, upon arrival you scope out the scene to see who you know and then after collecting your adult beverage you make your way to find the ideal spot to chat and meet new and interesting people. Once my colleagues and I found our prime real estate, we started chatting up two young professionals in the IT consulting business. As we got to talking and exchanging business cards and professional resumes, etc. one of them asked me a question that I realized, I’ve never been able to answer all that clearly. The question wasn’t anything too earth shattering actually, but it crystallized in my mind that not too many people outside of the PR world understand what it is that we actually do.
Upon explaining to the lovely blonde woman that I am a PR communications professional, her response was one that I’ve gotten for many years from my friends, parents and, dare I say, even my husband! And that is, “You’re in PR, so you write press releases, right”? As the words came out of her mouth, I started thinking about my answer and thinking to myself “ugh, here we go again.” Well, “that’s part of it, but there’s so much more to it.” Then it dawned on me, the PR world is still somewhat of a mystery.
I started to explain to her that writing press releases is simply one small part of what PR communicators do. I started to tell her that in addition to writing press releases, PR pros are strategic advisors to our clients. That means we not only help to spread their news, but we also advise them as to when, where, how often and through what communications channel to spread their news. As I continued, I realized I still wasn’t doing the profession the justice that it deserved and I was also getting exhausted!
This got me thinking about all of the work that PR pros do on a daily basis in addition to writing press releases. Then, my mind started racing “tell her about media relations, message development, event planning, strategic communications, oh and don’t forget, issues management and internal communications.” When I started to tell her about all of it she seemed almost surprised.
After that exchange, I realized that perhaps the reason the PR professional remains a mystery to others is not because we don’t know how to do it justice, but instead, because we are more focused on driving business forward for our clients. We are behind the scenes operators and we like it that way. Then a calm peace came over me. Satisfied with my answer, we moved onto another topic.
For those of us who work in this profession, we know what we do every day and to heck with the rest of the world if they don’t quite get it. When we’re ready to do a PR push around the PR profession, you’ll be the first one to hear about it!
Posted by Carla Brennan on September 13, 2012 at 2:05 PM