As an aspiring public relations professional, I’ve had my fair share of internships throughout college and each intern position had its own name. They were:
- Marketing and Publicity Intern
- Public Relations Intern
- Public Relations Assistant
- Communications Intern
- Integrated Marketing Team Leader
And now, I’m a Community Engagement Coordinator. While all my positions seem to be different, they are all different names for the same thing. If you’re a PR major like me, don’t be afraid to apply for that marketing or publicity position. It is best to expose yourself to all areas of strategic communications. Exposure can lead to new ideas and creative thinking.
One of the things that made me fall in love with PR is that it’s different every day. No two days are ever the same (hence my blog tagline above). Currently, I work for a children’s theater. As an engagement coordinator, I am mostly responsible for outreach and interacting with the public. PR is a complex profession. (It’s not just sending tweets out all day like many people tend to think.) Because of this complexity, I tried my best to break down PR into three main components that are easily understandable. The 3Cs: creating, communicating and connecting.
My job (and any job in PR for that matter) requires that I’m able to write my own content. I create anything from Facebook posts to press releases and outreach emails. And content is not just words on a page. I am also responsible for taking engaging photos at important events, and I even created an infographic in the past. Being a good content curator makes it easy for your audience to understand you. The more they understand, the better chance you have for convincing your audience to take action.
This is where all the strategic planning takes place. Deciding what to tell which audiences at what time. Always know where your audiences are, online and offline. For example, my job is to cater to our primary audience: families with young kids. We normally cater to schools and other child-affiliated organizations in the area. Our main social media platforms include Facebook and our company blog. In addition, we have long run-times for our theater performances, with some shows during the day (for children traveling with their schools) and in the evenings (for parents who had to work during the day). These are just some of the details our team uses to communicate effectively.
Building relationships is everything. Companies don’t receive earned media by contacting that one reporter that one time. As a PR practitioner, you must learn to make connections. At my job, we keep a database of those who have attended our shows and responded positively to our outreach. By maintaining those relationships, we know that we will always have loyal customers. An added tip for maintaining relationships for the long term is offering yearly incentives, rewards or discounts for your longtime members. This way, they feel appreciated for their dedicated service.
Bringing it all together
By creating, communicating and connecting with your audience, you are practicing all of PR’s fundamental duties at its best. Of course, there are many different aspects of PR that I haven’t mentioned here, but I believe my basic breakdown of public relations will give you the insight you need to start an entry-level job. Any thoughts? Please comment below!