As a public relations student, the simple question, “what’s your major?” is often one of the most difficult to answer.
Explaining that PR serves as a middleman that builds a two-way, mutually beneficial relationship between a client and the media is not an easy concept for people outside the field to understand. Especially since PR is performed behind the scenes of successful stories and events.
Aside from initial confusion, I occasionally find that others see PR as an evil liaison between corporate greed and the “media’s lies.”
There’s an abundance of misconceptions that people believe about PR, such as distortion of the truth and covering up negative images or crises. But what silly delusions are we as PR students holding toward our own future career?
In a blog post by Mickie Kennedy through PR Daily on the 10 Misconceptions About PR, many great points were made on how most misinterpret the discipline. However, many of these examples are applicable to students who have yet to reach the field, myself included.
While the blog talks about people outside of PR thinking we’re super exciting, partying drinkers that have a job based around luck of the draw, there’s many parts that are completely applicable to the way I view my future professional life as a student hoping to someday become a chic PR executive. Perhaps I retrieved this ideal image from Sex and the City with the notorious Samantha Jones as a successful PR woman.
When picking this major, I thought I would thrive simply because I love writing and am a strong people person. However, as I learned in my first media writing class, just because you got in A+ in creative writing does not mean you will understand a news-writing format. Having good people skills is only a minor portion of becoming a PR pro. In fact, a strong ability to write in the proper communications format is one of the highest criteria for success in this field. Aside from writing, you must be a strategic thinker and extremely hard worker. You will never launch a successful campaign on the ability to talk alone.
Another major misconception in the PR field is the normal 9-5 weekdays and free weekends approach. Even as a student I find that I work most of my weekend on homework and writing on the side for my internship. I don’t believe this will be alleviated once I graduate and get a full time job. As Kennedy says in the blog, “When you read a newspaper or see a news report—or even when you see a client’s competing product on a television show—your mind is right there back at work dreaming up a new strategy.”
The bottom line is the job requires you to create a glamorous image for the client; the PR professionals are the ones painting that portrait, not living inside it. This job is about getting the client to be known, not for you to be.
Define PR. 2015. GrownUpish. Web. 24 Feb. 2016. <http://www.grownupish.co/2015/02/9-misconceptions-of-public-relations.html>.
Kennedy, Mickie. “10 Misconceptions about PR.” 10 Misconceptions about PR. N.p., 5 Sept. 2013. Web. 24 Feb. 2016. <http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/10_misconceptions_about_PR_15127.aspx>.
Samantha Jones. N.d. Women In PR. Web. 24 Feb. 2016. <https://womeninpr.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/20-common-misconceptions-about-pr/>.
Texts with Dad. N.d. Lotus823. Web. 24 Feb. 2016. <http://www.lotus823.com/biggest-misconceptions-about-pr-professionals-and-ces-marketing/>.