5 things that will make you wish you worked in PR
The migration from journalism to PR is nothing new, but given the changing economics of many newsrooms, that migration has begun to accelerate in recent years.
We could address the pros and cons of making such a move, but for our purposes here, let’s just focus on the pros.
Here are five things that will make you wish you worked in PR.
1. We are in a growing, evolving field
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “employment of public relations specialists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2014 to 2024.” The BLS projects an eight percent decline in the print journalism category for the same period. While the skill sets are not exactly the same for each field, solid journalistic skills have long been a good foundation for success in PR.
Some of the key drivers for the public relations field’s growth are the constantly evolving needs of digital media, from social media, content creation and curation, to traditional media relations, and crisis and issues management.
2. We get to be creative
One of the great frustrations among some journalists is that they are forced to work with stories as they come.
In public relations, we are in a position to shape the story from its very inception. If our client or organization has a new product or service, we are charged with shaping the message from the very beginning, and sometimes this helps to shape the product or service itself. If the issue at hand is a community relations development, we may be in the boardroom where decisions are made, where our counsel is sought.
This may help shape the course of events to assure the best possible outcome for everyone. That all requires a creative approach to marketing and problem-solving.
3. Even in crisis situations, we can make It better
I once talked to an emergency room physician, and we discussed how she must feel after a long day where not everyone she treated survived, or in other cases where the outcomes weren’t great.
I asked her how she handled it. She said she constantly reminds herself that her job is to do the best she can, and to be there for her patients and their families who may be going through the toughest times in their lives.
She found comfort in that. The same is true for public relations consultants who are there when organizations and their people go through trying periods in their own lives and careers. We may not always be able to deliver perfect outcomes, but we can be there to help influence the best possible result.
4. We get to see the results of our work everywhere
Journalists tend to find a certain gratification knowing that their work is seen by large numbers of people, and that for many news consumers it influences their lives and their thinking. In PR, we are not limited to one media channel on a given day. Our work crosses all traditional and digital media channels every day.
Proportionately, we can make a difference in countless peoples’ lives simply by doing our jobs right. If you get a certain amount of satisfaction knowing people may read your article, imagine how you’ll feel when your work is amplified on television and social media and across a wide range of specialty media.
5. You can go big or go small
In PR, you can work in a small nonprofit or as part of a large governmental agency. You can work in-house on the corporate side or for a big agency, or you could work for a small-start-up or a small boutique firm. PR has something for everyone.
The good news is “small” doesn’t necessarily represent a drop in earnings potential. People choose the type of public relations environment that works for them, and they have the potential to earn the same, if not more, than if they had stayed on their original journalism career track.
Many of the former journalists I know who now work in PR have told me that they get the same sense of satisfaction in their work that they sought when they first entered the news business.
If you work in PR, what are some of your favorite things about the field? Let us know on Twitter.
Tim O’Brien is owner of Pittsburgh-based O’Brien Communications, a corporate communications consultancy. He has over 30 years’ experience in communications and started his career as a journalist.
Photo via Pixabay