I’m always fascinated by the follow-up questions I receive when someone asks what I do for a living. I’m in PR with an emphasis on digital communications. I usually wait with anticipation because I always get something good:
“Oh, can you manage our Facebook page?”
“You’re in advertising!”
“Are you in charge of Sandpoint.com?”
Another misperception is that PR is media relations. Media relations is a tactic, not a strategy. When a potential client comes to me because they want to get in the New York Times, I suggest we take a step back or two.” Although I have gotten a client or two in the Times, it’s not why you hire a PR firm. We help businesses strategically achieve their business goals. Getting in the Times may or may not be part of that.
The truth is most people really don’t understand what PR does. In fact, our own industry argues over the topic. So when my very dear friend Dana Hughens of Clairemont Communications in Raleigh, North Carolina launched PR Baton and asked me to be one of the first carriers, I was more than excited to participate. What a great way to highlight the various things we all do – a day in the life of a PR professional.
The first week’s posts show a huge variety of projects and initiatives with Martin Waxman teaching, me brainstorming with the dogs (always with the damn dogs), Aaron Blank walking to meetings with the Chamber in rainy Seattle, and Gary McCormick planning out talent for the Epcot Garden and Flower Show. One commonality I did notice; we all like to have our drinks at the end of the day.
My particular day took place entirely in front of my computer. I work remotely with clients all over the country but I start every day writing – creating content for my own business, then for a client. I had meetings via Skype and Gotomeeting in the middle of the day consulting with a technology start-up I’m working with and another discussing digital storytelling for a destination client in Jackson Hole.
Later, I was troubleshooting a web crawling issue for a financial services client which I suspect is affecting their ability to get found online. That same day, coincidentally, I was asked to carry Gingerbread Fred with me for a third grade class in New Jersey. He’s pictured above on my Moleskine notebook I use for planning out my week.
When I was in third grade, I had no idea what I wanted to be. (I still don’t in my 40s but that’s another topic for another day). I do, however wish, that in high school, we were given more opportunities to learn about the different things you can do with your life. I wasn’t at all familiar with public relations as possible a job until I sort of just happened into it.
It’s time we did some good PR for our own industry and walked our walk, using a really fun distribution channel (Instagram and Tumblr) and giving us the creative leeway to showcase our days. Most of all, we did it without using any craptastic jargon – just a real life look into a day in the life of a PR professional.
All in all, it was a good day to carry the Baton and Gingerbread Fred.