It’s a fair question. PR is challenging. You never get chance to switch off. As part of the day job, you must manage multiple relationships. It’s about working to other people’s deadlines. There is a constant feeling of being accountable for your own actions, and sometimes those of others. So, why would you want to work in PR?
We work in an industry that is constantly changing and that makes it exciting and unpredictable. It also means that we need to keep abreast of any new tactics that could benefit our clients. This puts us in a position where we are constantly learning.
For those that like to push themselves, PR is a perfect career path. It isn’t for the faint-hearted. Unless you have worked in the industry, it’s somewhat of an enigma. The assumption is you write copy and send it to a journalist, but the reality couldn’t be more different.
The traits of a PR professional
Becoming an exceptional PR professional takes time and experience. I don’t believe you can ever stop learning and so, as a practitioner and business owner, I make it my mission to read, listen and digest.
Working in PR for more than two decades has changed me. I have had to adapt my style, consider my approach and ‘give my head a shake’ on many an occasion. Although I was as eager as the next graduate when I started my career, I can now see I was naïve and inexperienced.
I now appreciate that taking a step back, however urgent a deadline, will almost always benefit the outcome. Attention to detail is essential and sloppiness unforgiveable. Having the ability to communicate with a person as they prefer is a skill. Listening is as important as sharing your thoughts.
When we look for PR professionals to join Open Comms we don’t have a carbon copy that we replicate. There is no one size here. We know that to provide our clients with the best results, we need a team that has a variety of personalities and experiences.
The common denominator for us is that people work hard and that they have shared values; to do a job and to do it well.
Where the PR industry is heading
The future is an interesting path. It’s not one that we can predict with any certainty. This year of all others has shown us that. We hear a lot that digital communications will continue to dominate our lives and that this will be how consumers access information.
The way that I see it, rather than predict how an industry will change, we focus too much on a single medium. When we look at the reality, PR is more about the message, it’s content and timings. The medium is the vehicle, the PR is whatever it is you need to deliver.
The future for PR, as I predict it, will continue to focus more on the story, whatever the medium.
Storytelling is becoming increasingly important as people want to learn about the personalities behind the brands they purchase from. Being better equipped to make informed choices is an expectation, not an exception.
With the more mindful shopper comes the need to share. The challenge arrives when businesses are expected to put pen to paper. Messages need to be concise, copy compelling and sharing consistent. The tone needs to be reflective of the brand and the approach honest. Furthermore, at every step, the communication that is being shared needs to resonate with the audience.
It’s not always as simple as it seems.
Appreciating the complexities
PR isn’t a game. It isn’t ‘fannying around with press releases’ or drinking fizz at events. Nor is it freebies, new outfits, fast cars and lunches. And, it isn’t easy.
The landscape changes every day; mediums change, trends change, tactics that will work for clients change. Every. Single. Day.
Our specialism is one that fits within the wider marketing mix. It is a skill and requires professionals to deliver if they want to achieve results for clients. Anyone coming into the industry thinking it will be an easy ride is in for a rude awakening.
Working across sectors and with business to business, business to consumer and third sector organisations keeps us busy. At Open Comms we appreciate that every single brief, from every single client, is different.
This means we have to deliver our very best all of the time. We can’t take one model and apply it to the next company. It doesn’t work like that.
The benefits are that we get to create year-round plans and campaigns that have real impact. We work to objectives and then share the results. This means we can share in the success of each brand we work with.
That feeling is invaluable.
Consistent, compelling content will deliver results
There is so much more to PR than meets the eye. We cover so many different skills from event planning to activation, creative development to crisis management. No two days are ever the same.
The one consistent in our industry comes back to copy. If we want to deliver results for our clients’ we need to use copy to meet with objectives. Creating consistent, compelling content that can be shared across platforms needs to be our bread and butter. The thing that we deliver better than all others.
The message should build, the creative support and the overall outcome be excellent results.
Storytelling, finding angles and articulating the message in the right way, using the right medium, at the right time is PR.
It is exciting, quick-paced and fun.
Getting to the heart of a story and sharing it with passion and enthusiasm is a skill. Seeing copy in print, whether online or in print, is a real achievement. Watching campaigns gain momentum is exciting. Sharing this journey and the subsequent success it brings to business is what makes our industry so appealing and a great career option.
Trying it out for size
When I started my training in PR, we were told to find some experience.
We would be expected to give up ‘our time’ to gain experience from agencies. Not only did it give us the opportunity to put the theory to practice, we could see PR in action. This was a real turning point for me and made me realise this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
For others starting out, my advice would be to do the same. Be eager, aware, assertive, willing to approach businesses, to ask for experience and be willing to work. If you have what it takes, I can guarantee that PR will be a career that keeps on giving.
For anyone interested in learning more please do call a member of the team at Open Comms.