Jenna Cook spoke to leading PR professionals about the industry and some of the many challenges they face.
If there is one industry that works to consistently provide on-point content for their clients and consumers, it’s PR. You thrive on tight deadlines, quick turnaround times and caffeine. Here is a list of six daily struggles that you power through:
1. The ever-evolving job description
No one knows exactly what it is that you, as a PR professional, do, and sometimes you aren’t even sure what it is that you do. You are meticulously managing events, integrating partnerships, writing marketing communications and pitching to clients.
“This is what keeps PR interesting though – you’re never left doing the same thing day after day!,” says Gabriella Brondani Rego, founder of urban espresso PR.
You do a little bit of everything, whatever it takes really, to ensure the best possible results for your brands.
2. Keeping up with news 24/7
Staying on top of the news is one of the best ways to build, enhance or protect your brand’s reputation. “Listening is important,” says media specialist from Jenny Griesel Communications, Jenny Griesel. “I am online every day, consuming a lot of media and I network with people in the [PR] industry.”
There is never a shortage of enticing headlines and intriguing articles, so PR professionals are no stranger to working around the clock to stay informed.
3. Creating relevance
As PR professionals, you are expected to constantly find new ways of pitching your clients’ messages to the media. This means that you have to have your finger on the pulse when it comes to trends in the media landscape.
Samantha Watt, owner of GinjaNinjaPR, says, “To remain relevant you need to create the opportunities. This proactive approach has long been an issue in the PR industry. Don’t wait for the client to give you an angle, find one yourself and make it work. PR is only successful if it is consistent, thus requiring proactive attempts at creating relevance.”
4. Dealing with demanding brands
You are in the business of building brands. Brands want to know that you’re always ahead of the game when it comes to managing their reputation and crafting newsworthy stories that will generate great media coverage. You’re also tasked with making sure that all publicity is good publicity.
Samantha Watt says, “It is vital to talk to the right people, so many companies get this wrong. Having a good reputation as a PR consultant is established by engaging with the right people.
She continues, “Having a comprehensive media list is one of our most valuable tools and differentiators. It drives coverage, and that is what clients want after all.”
5. Creative block – it’s a real thing
Whether you’re working for your favourite brand, or have the most generous budget, some of the best ideas take time, research and, of course, imagination. Creative block can strike at any time, which is less than ideal in an industry that thrives on tight deadlines and quick turnaround times.
PR professional at total exposure, Jeremy Briar, emphasises the importance of maintaining a proactive work/life balance to combat the dreaded creative block.
“I try to plan my time as carefully as possible so that I will be able to cater to the times when I have to deal with limited inspiration. This usually means an early start to my every day.”
“Prioritising physical activity and family time is always important but it is also vital to step out of the daily routine with something like travelling. Even things as simple as watching a variety of YouTube videos can give you a fresh perspective and new ideas.”
6. Maintaining media relations
Building and maintaining relationships with the media is key in this industry. You are responsible for understanding the media landscape. This means that tailoring your pitches to the people you reach out to will allow you to secure media coverage for your clients.
“The better you understand the media that you reach out to, the better your relationship with their journalists, editors and station managers will be,” says media specialist Marina Kruger from Target Media Directory
Having access to accurate information when pitching your client’s message to the media is the best way to find new media opportunities and build existing relationships.
Here’s the thing about PR professionals: Despite these #DailyStruggles, it only takes one look to know that you couldn’t imagine yourself doing anything else because you love the grind.