I was initially going to write a blog update on Monday, but it didn’t seem right to write about anything during the Boston Marathon bombing event. So to those who still used scheduled social media updates during events like this, please don’t.
But I digress. Back to the original intention of this post.
This semester, I had the opportunity to have more hands-on public relations experience at a small marketing and communications agency. Needless to say, my decision to intern at the agency over a well-known technology company was a good choice. I have learned more from this internship alone than any of my prior ones. I can honestly say that I am definitely prepared to go back in-house at a large technology company with these tools under my belt.
Aside from the writing and communications software I learned, I also discovered the real meaning of public relations. You see, the media portrays public relations as a glamorous job – it’s not. Public relations encompasses all forms of marketing and communications; it is a management function and more importantly, it is a behind-the-scenes role within or for a business entity. As a public relations professional, your name will most likely not be on that long article you spent hours researching and wrote for your client. No one will know directly that you worked hard to call every journalist within the southwest region just to pitch a story to your client. It’s the type of work for someone who is willing to put in the effort, is passionate about a successful outcome for the good of the client and the public, and someone who doesn’t mind not always receiving praise for their hard work.
According to an article by Business Insider, the most powerful PR professionals are the ones you never hear about. These individuals work in the background, advising CEOs and presidents and would often times prefer to stay out of the limelight. People like me might fan-girl all over top SVPs and well-known PR agency CEOs, but the majority of the world doesn’t even know who I’m talking about when I mention names like Fred Cook of Golin Harris or Melissa Waggener Zorkin of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. But who the world knows are the clients that fall under these large public relations agencies.
Contrary to popular belief, not every aspiring PR pro has a natural bitch face. The majority of are actually really excited about entering the industry and proving to the world that PR is a function that is still needed across all industries and a spotlight reward is not something we’re after. Besides, public relations is a mutually beneficial relationship between an organization and its publics.