In PR, we often fight stereotypes:
- We’re spin masters.
- We’re control freaks obsessed with limiting media access to our clients.
- We spend our days playing on Facebook and Twitter.
- We’re the cute girls in black suits and heels holding clipboards at events.
Why do these stereotypes continue? I don’t know the full answer, but I know articles like this certainly don’t help.
Ragan published that article about beauty tips for PR pros, which included:
- Avoid getting lipstick on your teeth.
- Draw whiskers around your nose and mouth with a matte concealer stick. Blend it in with a brush.
- Invest in slips and undershirts.
- Practice smiling with your eyes.
Seriously? Yes, seriously.
Those aren’t tips for PR pros. They’re common sense. (Lipstick on your teeth isn’t a good idea in any industry.) If people think being a PR pro requires nothing more than common sense, it’s no wonder the industry doesn’t get the respect it deserves.
PR work is far more complex than articles like this lead you to believe. PR involves intricate details that, when flawlessly executed, strengthen business. Conversely, poorly managed PR campaigns can seriously hurt business. We’re talking dollars and cents-metrics that matter.
Can we promise to stop publishing shallow articles that emphasize the height of our heels instead of the strength of our campaigns? Let’s leave lipstick and lotion tips to beauty bloggers. Instead, let’s focus on results-oriented case studies, tips to help new pros climb the career ladder, thoughtful debates about strategies and tactics, and honest discussions about the challenges we face as an industry and individuals.
For better or worse, females still dominate the PR profession, but that doesn’t mean we should downplay our brains. It means we should play up successful, savvy businesswomen. These women aren’t just sitting at the table, they’ve earned the seat at the head of the table thanks to the results they generate.
If we want people to take PR more seriously (and consequently bring PR more responsibility and a bigger budget), then we need to be our own best PR team. We need to get out of our own way and stop with the gender stereotype fluff when we should be honing and showcasing our business acumen.
A version of this article originally appeared on PRtini.