Earlier in the week we were having a chat in the office. It revolved around us trying to pitch to each other in two minutes what we actually do for a living.
This stemmed from us talking about what our answer was when someone asked us what a ‘PR person’ actually is, or maybe more from their misinterpretations of what a PR professional does on a day to day basis.
Harking back to the good old days of Ab Fab, the simple answer would be “we PR things, dahhling, we PR things.”
Don’t get us wrong: we love Eddie and Patsy as much as the next person, but we wanted to clear up the myths around what people think we do and what we actually do. It’s not all celebrity launches and champagne, you know!
MYTH BUSTING THE WORLD OF PR
What people think we do: Go for long, boozy lunches to sweet talk journalists
What we actually do: A major part of a PR’s job is to form strong and genuine relationships with journalists that will ultimately benefit our clients. We spend significant amounts of time phoning and emailing them to try and find out what they’re going to be writing about and – more importantly- when they’re going to be writing about it. We need to work in the future and know what’s on their mind to ensure they’re most likely to come to us for input or comment from one of our clients when they’re writing a feature or article covering the client’s area of expertise.
Building relationships isn’t always easy, and can sometimes take months of relentless calls to even get in touch with the right person. But once we do, we don’t give up on them. We’ll nurture that friendship like never before, and develop as many angles as possible to pitch our clients to reporters, business writers, lifestyle writers, bloggers and many more.
A champagne lunch might happen once in a blue moon, but we normally stick to a sandwich and a cup of Yorkshire Tea at our desk come lunch time!
What people think we do: Write the odd press release and send a few emails
What we actually do: We write, and write, and write. Writing is a massive part of a PR’s job, and we have to be able to adapt our writing style and tone dramatically according to the type of audience and publications we’re writing for. This often means writing four or five different versions of the same story, so that we have the best possible chance of securing coverage for our clients in their target media. We need to identify what the angle should be when writing a press release, and then draft compelling copy that hooks a journalist as soon as they see it. And with most of them receiving hundreds of press releases every day, that can be quite difficult!
Content marketing is massive at the moment, and also forms a large part of the reason why we write so much! We’ll think of original, interesting and on-trend topics that we can create blogs around, all the while trying to squeeze in key words and search terms that our clients want to be recognised for, without sounding spammy and completely out of place.
We reckon we write for around fifteen hours a week, so the odd press release it certainly is not.
What people think we do: Make up stories and facts to secure media coverage for our clients
What we actually do: Contrary to what you often see portrayed by a television PR character, we’re not spin doctors who lie to the public. In fact, we spend a heck of a lot of time ensuring that we tell the truth.
Checking the facts are accurate is a massively important part of our role, and we spend a lot of time ensuring that everyone involved in a news story is happy with what we’re saying before anything goes out. You can imagine that this is sometimes a time consuming task when there are lots of different people with views and opinions that all need to be taken into account.
It might sound tempting to take shortcuts, skip steps and make assumptions on a story to speed things up, but PRs are the first in the firing line if anything untrue is leaked to the media – so it’s really not worth the hassle!
It may sound as though by writing this we’re trying to make it sound like we’re hard done by, but rest assured that when it’s done correctly, PR is one of the most rewarding and exciting careers there is and the route to success when it comes to raising the profile of a business.
So we suppose that PR really is absolutely fabulous!