Congratulations on the job… But what do you do?

8 Sep

This was originally posted on my personal blog, but I thought it would be interesting to the readers of this blog as well. Read the entire post here.

I get asked this question a lot, and it’s hard to give a simple answer. I touched on the subject of “What is PR?” in my professional blog, but still, many people don’t understand. This is partly because the world of public relations is multi-faceted. One PR practitioner may be doing something completely different from another. The kind of work you do depends on what industry (or industries) you work in and whether you work in-house or at an agency. It’s hard to sum PR up in a simple definition. The best short definition is that PR is the building, maintanence, and repairing of a brand’s image and reputation.

“Building” is usually the first stage for new brands. PR practitioners may be employed to draft copy for the company’s website, social media, brochures, newsletters, etc. Additionally, they may draft scripts for television and radio commercials/public service announcements. This is an integral part of building a brand because this is where the brand will develop its key messages, mission statement, slogans, etc. Additionally, this stage can include product launches or grand openings. It would be the role of a publicist to draft and distribute press releases in regards to the new business, product launch, and/or grand opening. Additionally, the publicist would follow up with media to ensure that local (and possibly national) television and news reporters attend the event and/or write a story on the new product or business.

“Maintaining” is the stage that most established brands are at. It involves alerting the media of any newsworthy happenings with the brand, positioning the brand or its chief executives as experts in their field through securing media placements that allow the brand’s leaders to discuss important industry topics or current events and how they relate to the brand, and overall maintaining a positive presence. This can involve the drafting of press releases, newsletters, annual reports, speaking points for television/radio media, media pitches, etc.

“Repairing” is a stage that most brands try to avoid, but it’s usually inevitable to occur at some point. This is when something bad happens that may ruin or tarnish the brand’s image or reputation. Crisis management and control is necessary to ensure that the public continues to trust the brand and its leaders. Some examples that the common person would be familiar with are the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky/Joe Paterno child molestation scandal, the BP oil spill, and Chik-fil-A’s public opposition to gay marriage. These were all events that jeopardized the parties involved and their credibility and reputation with the public. When crises occur, it is the job of a PR practitioner to strategically devise a plan of action, which usually involves taking responsibility for the problem, making a public apology, and publicly explaining the course of action the brand will take to “fix” the problem and prevent it from happening again in the future. Also, in this stage, it may be necessary to attain additional media placements that make the brand look really, really, really good in the public eye.

It’s hard to describe a “typical” day in the life of a PR practitioner. Currently…

Read more of “Congratulations on the Job… But what do you do?” on my personal blog


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