Working in PR, I find myself constantly explaining to people what PR actually is, and what PR’s do day-to-day. For some, they picture us standing outside a bar handing out leaflets, for other’s we’re swilling martinis, air kissing and calling everyone ‘dahhling’.
But, for those a little more clued-up, “You have SUCH a fun job!” is a phrase most oft tossed around.
And while I stand there at a blogger event, flute in my hand, canape making its way down, I can’t help but say yes it really, really is. But just not always.
Four months into my time at MK, I feel I’ve learned more than I ever have in my life. From running blogger reviews to crafting a newsworthy release – there have been learning curves left, right and centre.
Sometimes it can feel like an uphill struggle, and what most people see is the end result. The fun blogger evening, the all-smiles photocall, the well-crafted feature or news piece. Like an iceberg, PR is 90% below the surface. They don’t see the endless email threads, the pouring your soul into a release, battling with news desk bulldogs to score a two minute interview, scouring the news, running like mad to be in two places at once.
For many, PR denotes a glamourous life of stiletto heels and cocktail parties. The Samantha effect, let’s call it.
It crossed my mind while watching old Sex and the City re-runs. If you’re not familiar, Samantha is a New York power PR with a penchant for the younger male. Anyone who’s anyone is where they are because of Samantha. New bar opening? Samantha controls the guest list. New store on 5th? Samantha knows the owner. And Smith Jarod? A nobody in a flop stage show without our Samantha’s magic column inch grabbing ways.
PR is an endless parade of parties, schmoozing and perks. ‘Fear-me’ clipboard in tow and slinky dresses worn in the office, which by the way, is a place to put your feet up, call your girlfriends and rendezvous with a current flame before the evening’s star studded event.
From silver to small screen, PR’s are pegged as either cocktail fuelled party planners or high strung suited-and-booted cynics; It’s a trope we see time and time again.
Now, I’m not saying we’re out there saving lives or solving theorems, but there’s a lot more to PR than what Samantha Jones or Ab Fab’s Patsy would lead most people to believe.
PR is rarely glamourous
Although some accounts DO require the odd blogger evening or press night, most PR work is done behind a desk: press releases, analysing social media, creating targeted pitches, collating coverage…
PR requires stellar writing skills
On the note of press releases, as a PR you have to be able to be a linguistic chameleon. You have to be able to write for a range of styles and audiences, and write well. No schmoozing your way through this one!
PR is not all about people pleasing
Yes you need to be a brilliant communicator, but you also need to be able to think on the spot, be creative, analytical, problem solving and organised- sometimes all at once.
PR is NOT easy
PR can be tough. You have to put the hours in, you have to understand the objectives of clients and tailor solutions to best meet their needs, to ultimately achieve results.
This means, meeting tight deadlines, multitasking and thinking creatively, which is no easy feat.
PR is still exciting, rewarding and fast paced, just not quite like Hollywood has pegged it!
Would SATC garner the same amount of views or success if we saw Samantha sweat it out over a deadline? Probably not, but it’s far more relatable than a steady stream of Manolo Blahniks and rubbing elbows with the A-list.
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