3 things to know before you start your PR career

You’re going to learn about a lot of industries you don’t care about, you’ll be expected to work on weekends, and your clients won’t understand anything you do. Excited yet?

Do you think you have a good idea of what working in PR is all about? You may have seen a TV show (think Samantha on “Sex and the City”) or otherwise have an idea of what a glamorous life PR pros lead. Maybe you want to get into public relations so you can have the same fabulous, high-octane lifestyle.

There are a few things you should know first.

PR isn’t quite what you think it is. While it is an exciting and sometimes crazy field, it isn’t all fun and games, and is a ton of work.

Here are a few facts you should know before you get into PR:

1. You’ll learn a lot about stuff you don’t care about.

If you’re doing PR for your business, that’s great. You get to talk and learn about an industry you’re interested in. Many PR pros, though, do PR for other businesses or even multiple companies. This means they learn all sorts of stuff they never knew before.

When my friend first started in PR, she had no idea she would one day care about taxes, the banking industry and new technology. She had never been interested in those topics before, and would not have learned more about them if she had a choice. However, good PR pros know they have to do the work they’re given, and that they’ll learn to love whatever subject they face.

2. The hours are ridiculous.

You may have some idea of how many hours PR pros work. After all, the job never really stops—you just go to sleep hoping the phone doesn’t ring. A huge crisis could hit at any moment, and just like that you’re back on the clock.

But you probably think this doesn’t apply to holidays. You get Christmas and Arbor Day off, right? Those are your two favorite holidays and you really want to take them off to be with your family. Well, you may get Christmas Day off-at least to eat dinner and open presents—but the annual sleigh ride might have to take a backseat when your client’s CEO mouths off to a reporter.

3. Your clients will probably know next to nothing about PR.

I don’t want to imply that your clients are dumb. They opened a business and got it running well enough that they need promotion and representation.

However, you’ll be surprised how little they know about PR.

Take social media. For many business owners (especially the older crowd) social media is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Business owners typically don’t know how it works, nor do many of them want to know. They just know it does work, and they want you to figure it out for them.

Be prepared to walk your clients through some of the basics that you learned in school or on the first day of your job. It can be annoying when they question everything you do or say something ridiculous, but it can often make you seem like a superhero when you pull off what looks like magic.

What aspects of PR do you explain over and over again to non-PR people?

Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases. He blogs at PR Fuel, where a version of this article originally appeared.

Topics: PR

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