On Thanksgiving, folks will sit down with loved ones and share what they’re thankful for, from family and friends to good health. But what are we, as PR pros, thankful for? The list could go on forever, but below is a sampling of what PR professionals should be thankful for this year.
1. Clients. No agency ever functioned without clients, and anyone having been in the business during the height of the economic recession knows how precious each one is. The clients we have today and will have tomorrow are what keep us employed.
2. Media feedback. Hugh Prather, author of “Notes to Myself,” which inspired the long-running “Saturday Night Live” segment “Deep Thoughts,” once said, “Negative feedback is better than none.” And he’s right. There is nothing more frustrating than crafting a pitch just to send it into a black hole. But occasionally, a journalist provides a response, even a harsh one.
3. High activity. According to “The Most Stressful Jobs of 2014” list in Forbes, public relations executive is No. 6. This isn’t all too surprising. In PR, we juggle tons of activities all at once, all the time. We constantly work under tight deadlines. We deal with endless change, whether it’s client turnover, media staff changes, new technology, etc. And let’s face it: We tend to be control freaks with Type A personalities. Yet while PR is one of the highest stress jobs out there, it’s definitely not boring.
4. Media databases. Journalism is constantly in flux. Reporters and bloggers come and go, and publications change, making it nearly impossible to keep track. Fortunately, media databases help PR pros stay on top of those changes and better target the right people in the press.
5. Continued education. From new clients to new communication tools, we are constantly learning. In fact, for the PR professionals who earned degrees ten or more years ago, the tools used to disseminate news are completely different than the ones we heard about in school. A decade ago, for example, social media was never discussed in college lectures simply because it was not relevant. Twitter didn’t even exist, but now, we’re incorporating “Click to Tweet” links in press releases. In another ten years, communication will likely evolve into something else, forcing us to keep learning.
6. News feeds, apps and podcasts. PR professionals tend to be news junkies, constantly following the news for the latest developments that impact our clients and our profession. We start and end our days reading articles or listening to NPR and industry podcasts. We are always constantly up to date on current events and trends because of the handy news feeds, apps and podcasts available.
7. Smartphones. Need I say more? For PR professionals, smartphones are essential to our careers. With Twitter, iMovie, Hootsuite and the other 45 billion or so apps out there, smartphones help keep us connected and enable us to better manage our clients’ reputations whenever and wherever. They’re incredibly valuable in a world that moves at light speed.
8. Crises. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a good ol’ fashioned crisis to prove our worth. While it can certainly be stressful, crises demonstrate just how needed PR pros are.
9. Peers. Not only do our peers help out when a second set of eyes are needed, but they understand us. For many PR pros, our family and friends have no clue what we do to earn that pay check each month. So it’s nice to have folks that get us.
10. Holidays. PR is intense. A restful holiday spent with family and friends is often exactly what we need to refuel.
Though it may be a high-stress and often thankless job itself, PR can be a truly rewarding profession with many things to be thankful for. So while you’re enjoying time with family and friends this week, be sure to reflect on those things.
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Mary York Cox is an account supervisor at William Mills Agency, the nation’s largest independent public relations firm focusing exclusively on the financial services and technology industries. Follow the agency on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or its blog.