Maybe it’s just me, but public relations (PR) may be one of the most under-rated profession. Most people don’t know what public relations means beyond press releases and crisis management. I’ve seen the value of PR ever since my Intro to PR class. How did I get here though? Let me tell you:
A love affair with journalism
I had no doubt going into my freshman year at Utah State University that my declared major was exactly what I wanted. Journalism was my calling. In my future I saw myself on the front lines of a major crisis or writing a long, in-depth story of people in the bush of Africa.
But, at some point I had the foresight to recognize that the winds of journalism were changing. I didn’t have a Facebook account, but you better believe I had a blog (like so many others during 2006 era). Intuition told me that the world of journalism would be majorly affected by the fast-paced digital age, and maybe journalism wasn’t the right fit for me.
Are you okay with taking sides?
I remember one of my teachers saying, “If you are okay with taking sides on a story then you will fit perfectly with PR.”
Wait. You are telling me I could still write and tell stories without being objective? I can advocate for something I love without the restrictions of journalist moral obligation to stay away from taking sides? Sign me up!
My intro class to public relations made so much sense to me. I was ready to apply, but I didn’t. If you get to know me, I could tell you the whole story. Let’s just say I took a different route in life for a few years. I will fast forward to where PR came back to me and the desire to learn more hit me in the face.
Public Relations whispering in my ear
I was working for a start-up company. It was always go-go-go in trying to increase awareness and make money. Through the duration of working there we redefined the brand at least two to three times. We were making wonderful product but always seemed disconnected with who we viewed as our customer.
I would find myself thinking about fundamentals I learned in school; research, making goals and objectives, implementing strategy and tactics, and finally measuring results. It seemed that we were failing at all of those and I remember wishing I had better skills to solve our company’s marketing issues.
Near the end of working that job I was the sole person working in the marketing department. I ran my department off intuition but I know I needed to learn the rest of the fundamentals.
So, I left my job and went back to school full-time. I needed to finish my degree and learn the disciplines taught through public relations.
PR is so much more than press release
Work experience mixed with school has given me the belief that PR is so much more than writing press releases and handling crisis. School has taught me how to look at problems or opportunity in a larger scale. It has given me the skills and confidence in carrying out marketing and public relation campaigns.
Working with my old company helped me understand the importance of public relations. Without creating objectives and measurement you never truly get on top of your goals. You are forever in a guessing game of who you are talking to and how effective you are being.
Public relations is far more than writing press releases and keeping the public happy. We are advocates for both the company and their audience. We create brands. We think objectively. We measure success. There should be at least one PR person in every company and I get excited to see people value it more and more.
But, if you need a press release written, I’m happy to help.