What Does Public Relations Really Mean?
Whenever I meet someone and they ask what I do, I always pause before answering. I used to respond with, “I’m in public relations,” but it quickly became apparent that few understood what that meant; the conversation would immediately shift to the next topic because people didn’t want to admit that they weren’t sure what public relations is. I’m not even sure my closest friends could tell you what my job entails!
So, let’s discuss: what is public relations? What do PR pros do all day? According to the Public Relations Society of America, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” In the agency setting, this means that we assess and recommend the best ways for our clients to communicate and build rapport with their target audiences.
How do we do that? Here are some of the key daily activities every good PR pro does:
- Listening. Yes, PR people can talk a lot, but listening is just as important to our work. The above definition of PR implies building relationships that are mutually beneficial is a two-way street. It involves listening and paying attention to clients’ needs as well as those of different demographics and industries. For instance, in my work with WD-40 Company, I listen to what the client would like to achieve and translate that into meaningful information for automotive and construction professionals. PR pros have to have their “ears to the ground” to stay in touch with overall media trends, and we have to pay attention to what’s happening in the industries we represent.
- Writing. Whether it’s emails to clients, media pitches, press releases or internal memos, writing is a significant part of any PR pro’s day. Nuffer, Smith, Tucker has an amazing internal writing program that all of our staff goes through so we ensure our work is of the highest quality for our clients. When I was in college, I knew I wanted my future career to involve a significant amount of writing, and I’ve been satisfied with how I’ve put my skills to good use in PR.
- Staying proactive. PR pros have to keep both the big and small picture in perspective. We have to stay on top of trends and opportunities for our clients, while ensuring the campaigns we manage go smoothly and align with overall objectives. We read a lot so that we’re informed, we brainstorm new ideas and we stay in touch with our clients frequently throughout the week to make sure we’re on the cusp of the industries we represent.
- Switching things up. I’m currently coordinating a corporate music video, tradeshow planning, several product launches, and hands-on demonstrations for a sales meeting next week. PR pros say it all the time, but it’s true: no day is ever the same. Add in the ever-evolving media landscape, changing consumer habits and shifting client needs, and you have a recipe for a job full of fun and creativity! We are always looking for talented go-getters to join our team, so visit our website to learn more about our open positions.
Are there any other activities that you would add to this list? Leave us a comment on Nuffer, Smith, Tucker’s Facebook page and let us know.