Every profession brings a unique mindset with it. Looking at the world through PR-tinted glasses means that we might notice details other miss, or spend more time reflecting on things that others quickly dismiss as “spin” or a “publicity stunt.”
In this post, some of our staff members reflect on things that they have said or thought that show how they view the world around them through a PR lens.
Looking through my PR lens, I have several questions that I always ask myself when working on projects:
”How can I make this better?”
I ask myself this every time I feel that I’m done working on something because I want the things I work on to be to the best of my ability. Whether it’s a pitch, a press release, a tweet, or a Facebook post, I keep working at them to make them better. When I feel that my project can’t get any better, I then ask a peer if they can look at it, to get another perspective. It’s important to remember that your name is stamped on projects and work that you’ve been a part of, and you’re going to want that work to reflect you and your ethic. Future employers don’t want half-done lazy work; they want work that they can fully support and use to represent their brand. This is why I take this question so seriously: my future career depends on it.
"When’s this due?”
Working on projects is constant for us, whether it’s writing a pitch or trying out a rebrand. Deadlines are extremely important in PR because most of the things that we do are timely. If we let them sit too long, they might go stale.
“Let me check my schedule and get back to you.”
Depending on the day, how many clients I’m working with, and my last nap, everything is on a schedule. It’s so important for people in PR to be organized, especially their time. Usually, we’re working on not just one client, but multiple. We need to schedule out almost everything because our client work may not be able to be scheduled and we have to be able to do things on the fly. But if someone wants to schedule a meeting with me out of the blue, you better believe I’m giving them the line, and cross-checking my Apple calendar, my Google calendar, and my planner.
When reflecting on what “phrases” or direct things that a PR major would say, I came to the abrupt realization that approximately 70% of my day-to-day language is stuff that only a PR major would say. From constantly critiquing writing, commending the appropriate usage of memes to promote a product (Jimmy John's) and waking up like it's Christmas morning every #PRWednesday, I have concluded I am a PR major cliché.
However, from this variety of things, I have come to three very distinct phrases that I believe only a PR major would say.
“No, my major isn’t marketing.”
This is something PR majors face regularly in conversations. Public Relations is focused on maintaining good relationships before, during, and after transactions whereas marketing finds its focus more towards making the sale. While difficult to distinguish, PR can serve as part of the Marketing Mix. This mix is categorized by the four P’s of Marketing: product, price place, promotion and public relations. In order to make successful sales, good-natured relationships are in order and Public Relations differs from marketing in the sense that PR pros go above and beyond to foster these relationships.
“My family still doesn’t know what my major entails”
If differentiating from marketing wasn’t hard enough, PR majors find themselves constantly being asked about what it is a “PR major does”. This question is dreaded at every family holiday function seeing that Public Relations is a broad field. There is such a wide spectrum that PR works in and it is seen is almost every other field. While this is confusing for Aunt Jane to grasp, she’ll understand someday.
“No, I am not like Samantha from Sex and the City”
PR is not just gossiping about the latest drama, sipping cosmos or enjoying brunch. Samantha Jones specialized in events and event planning, simply one small aspect of Public Relations. PR is so much more than Samantha Jones; PR is the communication channel in which organizations build and maintain relationships with their audiences. While shopping and Bloomingdale’s sounds more fun than finishing the secondary research in your CAP 220 planbook, Samantha Jones is not an accurate representation of PR.
As a PR student involved in a student-led firm, an internship, class, and a job, who still manages to have a social life, you can say my schedule is pretty cramped. I’m sure I’m not the only student whose life revolves around so much running around. Don’t have homework? You still have client work. Don’t have to work? Get some sleep. Lunchtime? Put some food in your mouth while you crank out a blog post, newsletter, or news release. That’s just how it is. We either make up our own sayings or pick some fun ones up along the way.
Rihanna said it best, “Work work work work work work.”
“Did you get my email?”
PR pros are all bilingual. We all speak fluent email. Let’s face it, we say this to anyone and everyone. We say it so much, it’s a phrase that should basically be imprinted on our foreheads.
“Are you on social media?”
A common question to ask a client nowadays. When they respond with “We have a website.” you must rephrase your question with “Are you on *insert specific platform here*?” Social media is different than a website. A website does not offer the same level of communication with the public as a social media page does.
“I need coffee.”
If you stay up late and wake up early this applies for anytime. Eventually, ALL THE TIME.
“Let’s get drinks.”
After dealing with a difficult client or once you finish up a very tedious and time-consuming project or campaign, it’s nice to get out and go celebrate with the people who helped you get through it: your team.
“I have a meeting.”
You either say this out loud when a friend asks you to hang out later, or you use the “I’m in a meeting” preset message on your iPhone when you get a call in the middle of the meeting (and how cool does that make you feel?). Once you say this often enough, this can also be used as an excuse for not hanging out with a particular person, forgetting to call your parents, etc. It works.
The good thing is, as beginning PR pros, there is something about the hecticness that not only keeps us on our toes, but also keeps us loving PR. As we move through life with this schedule we’ve created for ourselves, we create our own ways of dealing with all the fun.
Public Relations is much more than meets the eye (of one who is not in the industry). It has had a huge impact on so many organizations and continues to prove itself as a necessary asset to business. While PR continues to confuse many, those in PR continue to thrive on it. Through utilizing the lingo (social, media kit, press release, etc) and continuing to network and build important relationships within other disciplines, PR majors are cut from a very particular type of cloth that makes them very good at what they do. Just give them four cups of coffee and let them work.