Last year, jobs in the public relations industry were ranked as the third best creative and media jobs according to the US News and World Report. Additionally, with the increase in popularity of earned and non-paid media for a number of industries, jobs in public relations are becoming more popular than ever before.
Getting a job in the public relations industry is only the first step in a long-lasting PR career because a good education and a resume can only help people get their foot in the door. After that, they have to work hard and be resilient to maintain their careers.
Public relations isn’t just advertising, marketing, sending out press releases, or looking for media coverage for clients. PR, at its core, is simply a strategic communications process which aims to develop mutually beneficial relationships between companies and their audiences. People working in the PR industry aren’t just looking to create more brand awareness for clients. The ultimate goal of the job is to strategically build trust, reputation, and credibility for a client’s brand.
This is why PR professionals have to be effective at building strong relationships with a variety of people — from journalists to other industry individuals, to government agencies. Then, those relationships have to be leveraged to place the spotlight on the client’s brand in a positive manner. This is done through collaborations, media, networking, events, and even award nominations.
Although people that have studied communications can have an advantage in the industry over those that haven’t, that’s only in the beginning. As long as everyone involved or interested in the industry is able to communicate and write well, has a knack for news stories, can think on their feet, and adapt to constantly changing situations, it’s easy to keep up.
People in public relations are constantly learning about new techniques, tactics, and strategies, which means even people that haven’t studied communication can get jobs as interns in an agency. The most important skill is to remain diplomatic, listen, and to communicate with tact. PR professionals aren’t advocating for themselves, but for their clients.
Contrary to popular belief, the industry isn’t all about meeting celebrities all day, every day, at different parties and events. It’s actually a lot more about communicating with clients, stakeholders, publications, and even the government, and coming up with perfect ideas for every client. It requires a lot of coordination and networking, along with research, all with the goal of showcasing the client’s work to their target audience and the rest of the world.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to deliver positive results to clients. The effort, creativity, and talent that’s put into a task or a project won’t matter if it doesn’t generate the desired results.
Finally, PR professionals are the people who can influence others — from coworkers about a new idea or clients about a new pitch to the target audience about a new product.
Every PR professional has to be convincing and influential to others and make them believe an idea has a lot of potential. To do this, PR professionals have to develop a lot of trust with everyone involved, with consistency, respect and honesty.