“So what do you actually do? Do you just talk to journalists, attend fun events, play on Facebook and wear high heels?”
Yes…an acquaintance actually asked me that after I told him I worked with a Nashville public relations firm.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m 100% guilty of sporting a ridiculous pair of wedges every now and then. I also enjoy a good party. However, fashion and festivities aren’t the only responsibilities in my job description. Actually, nowhere in the PR account executive’s job description does it require extensive party experience, or even great taste in shoes. Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones is not a good representation of what PR pros bring to the table.
Trust me, a lot more goes into our job than that. We just make it look effortless.
Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox. The truth is, before I joined the Bradford Group, I may have had a similar perception of the public relations realm.
Before my Samantha Jones days, I was channeling my inner Diana Sawyer as a local TV news reporter. I’d carry my camera and tripod into an event, chase after my interview subject, scan the room for interesting footage and then look over to the PR chic overseeing the chaos in the corner. I’d think, “Gah, doesn’t she have it easy? Just send out the press release and let me do all the work.”
Well, now I’m on the other side of things and I’ve learned there’s a lot more that goes into public relations. Here are five responsibilities most people don’t realize are a part of a PR pro’s job description:
- We analyze to strategize – Driving customers to our clients’ websites by creating search-engine-optimized blog content is one of our primary marketing tools. To understand the best content and key words for our clients, we must monitor their web traffic and Google-keyword rankings. We use data to help devise our marketing plans. I can officially add “techy” to my Linkedin and Twitter bios.
- We help clients take advantage of bylined column opportunities – In today’s world, many publications operate on a shoestring budget with a skeleton crew. To manage this, trade publication editors will often request bylined columns. This is often a great opportunity for our clients. We help them take advantage of this by identifying the publications seeking bylined columns in their field and helping them draft their submissions.
- We read all of our clients’ key publications and monitor all relevant news – To generate buzz about our clients, ensure they’re mentioned in relevant news coverage and devise effective communication strategies, we must be in tune with their industries. We subscribe to many of their leading industry pubs, peruse influential blogs and monitor all relevant keywords so we’re experts in their fields. Who knew I’d be reading the latest issue of Predictive Modeling News with my morning coffee?
- We target key publications and develop relationships –We don’t just send out mass emails to random journalists and cross our fingers that they’ll pick up our clients’ releases. We pinpoint specific media and journalists and develop a personal rapport. This requires carefully drafted emails, occasional cold calls and countless follow up voicemails.
- We think about our clients all the time – Really. On the drive to and from the office, at the office and when I say my nightly prayers, I am thinking about my clients, their businesses and how I can help them grow.
That’s just a bit of what we public relations execs do. I think I’ll send this post over to that acquaintance of mine.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/megs_pics/2584738841/