When I was contemplating what I would like to do after university, I decided that I should pursue something enjoyable yet challenging. One of the things I heard about PR was that it is one of the more “happening” fields, what with its glamorous parties and events. I enjoy interacting with people from all walks of life, hence my interest in PR. Another thing I heard was that being an extrovert is a must in the field. I lean more towards being an introvert, so I wondered if it might be a stumbling block for me. Nevertheless, I enjoy taking up challenges, and so I thought, why not give public relations a try and see where it takes me.
Without further ado, let me jump into the five things that I have understood better about public relations since joining PRecious Communications.
We Do More Than Just Press Releases
PR does not just stand for press releases. There are other kinds of content that we have to draft on behalf of our clients. One early revelation was that drafting the spokesperson’s quotes in the press release is part of our job; they do not come from the spokespersons themselves.
“PR entails more than just writing,” remarks Charlene Pe, Associate Manager at PRecious Communications, as she recounts the things she did not know before entering the industry. “I entered the profession thinking that success in the profession only requires good writing skills. It was only when I was in the field did I learn that we have to conduct media monitoring, briefing the spokespeople before interviews, and press briefings as well,” she added.
Through media monitoring, we keep up with what is being said about our clients in the media and their industry. This allows us to look for opportunities and current trends that we can leverage to create content and position our clients in a positive light. It also helps us to measure the effectiveness of our communication efforts and provides insights for future campaigns.
Being an Extrovert Helps, but it Is Not Part of the Job Description
Contrary to popular belief, one does not need to be a social person to do PR. While being sociable helps, I realised that the job scope goes beyond just talking and socialising with people at parties and events. More importantly, adaptability is a crucial skill to have as a PR professional.
“When I first started in the industry, what stood out to me most was how the actual ‘working environment’ was different from what I expected it to be. What I learnt was to take the fundamental skills such as writing for example, and pair that with adaptability. The working environment is continually changing, so we need to be able to adapt,” says Adib Azahar McGhie, Associate Manager at PRecious Communications.
We Are the Bridge Between the Reporters and Newsmakers
What many people (including me before joining PRecious) do not realise is that PR professionals help create a significant amount of news content. With tireless planning and preparation, we help our clients build and protect their reputation in the media.
Throughout my internship journey so far, I learned that this entails combining our research findings and our clients’ messages with writing press releases, commentaries and bylined articles, and then pitching them to the media. These can range from an announcement about a new product launch or an upcoming event, to a thought leadership byline about a hot button topic such as cybersecurity.
Media relations certainly help our clients make it on the news too, as expressed by both Charlene and Adib. “As I worked more closely with the media, I found that genuine relationships with the editors or journalists helped. Because the familiarity is there, we are able to work together in a manner that benefits both our clients as well as the readers,” continues Adib.
PR Is Not a 9 to 5 Glam Job
As much as we try to leave on time, we have to be prepared to work beyond office hours. For instance, sometimes media interviews for our clients are conducted outside office hours, be it early in the morning or late in the evening. Then there is also crisis management. If a client has a crisis at 3 am, we have to deal with it head-on and not put it off till the next working day.
The job is indeed not all about glamorous parties either. We do not hop from one party to another all the time like Samantha Jones does in the TV show Sex and The City. “It’s not all fun and glamour like what we usually see on social media. Behind those posts of events that PR professionals attend, there’s a lot of work and long hours of preparation,” Jermaine Ong, Client Executive at PRecious Communications, reveals as she ponders on the reality of the industry.
The Media Might Not Publish What We Pitch to Them
After all, PR is earned media. It is unlike advertising, which guarantees that the client’s message will appear in the press. I realise that the process of getting media coverage for our clients is not as simple as just sending a press release over to the media. We have to pitch and convince them that what we send them is worth reporting . Nevertheless, it all depends on the journalists, editors and publications. If the message is of interest to the media and the audience, then it gets published.
While there is no guarantee that the message will get media coverage, PR is still seen as more credible and trustworthy than advertisements. People are more receptive to what is on the news than what is on an advertisement.
For those who are considering public relations, it is good to understand what we do so that you are more prepared and have clearer expectations when working in the field. Similarly, for those considering to use PR services, knowing what we do and can be expected from us certainly help in achieving the relationship goals that you want with your public relation partners.
This post was written by Virginia Tanggono, Client Coordinator at PRecious Communications.