You’re the type of person who thrives on excitement. You like switching up what you do on a daily basis and striving for bigger accomplishments. You like to be pumped about your job, as well as help others achieve their goals.
If this sounds like you, you might want to consider becoming a publicist.
When you work in public relations, your days are never the same. You may go into the office 12 hours one day, and then only a few hours the next. Your success is dependent upon the hard work you put into the job, and you have to stay on top of the news, work around journalists’ schedules, and be prepared to socialize.
Do you have what it takes to get this cool job? Here is what you can expect if you work in PR, as well as some tips for snagging a job in the industry.
You have to be adaptable
Since publicists are dealing with the press, they must adapt when there is breaking news, or be willing to switch around their schedules to talk with a journalist or producer.
“Sometimes, there will be an announcement early in the morning, and it’s out of your control,” says Cristina Dunning, senior associate of digital lifestyle at Spark PR in San Francisco. “On announcement day, it can be really stressful, and you have to make sure everything is keyed up and goes live. But sometimes, I really thrive on that adrenaline, and I like the mix up in my week.”
Publicists also need to accept the fact that nothing is 100 percent confirmed until the press coverage has been published or broadcasted.
Beth Parker, an Astoria, Queens-based publicist who launches books into the marketplace, says that her least favorite part of the job is breaking news.
“There is a very strong possibility that my client might get bumped from an interview or prominent placement,” she says. “There is also an uncertainty to PR. Nothing is guaranteed because you’re not paying for placement.”
You have to like socializing
Claire Gendel, a freelance publicist who works with new media, entertainment, and tech businesses, says that a lot of the job is about meeting people.
“Develop your people skills,” she says, “because PR is all about relationships: making new connections and maintaining the ones you have.”
In order to cultivate these connections, Gendel says she is “on social media 24/7,” and that she’ll “spend a lot of time networking, and setting up dinners and drinks, as I’m a big believer in face-to-face meetings.”
“Sometimes, you have to step away from the computer and get to know the journalists you’re working with,” she says, “along with other publicists and people in your field.”
You have to like research
If you want to be successful at PR, you must be an expert on your niche. You need to get to know the leading publications and members of the media who are covering the topics and subjects you’re pushing to promote.
“I think it’s really important, especially when you’re first starting out to read the news and stay on top of what’s going on in your clients’ industries,” says Dunning.
This means setting up a feed and checking websites every day, if not several times throughout the day for updates, following influencers on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, signing up for Google Alerts, and subscribing to applicable email lists.
You must be able to connect the dots
Every publicist has to first and foremost figure out the answer to one question: Why is my client relevant? Once you can answer that, you then have to craft your message and make it appealing to the media.
“My favorite part of my job is helping my clients get the attention they deserve for their books,” says Parker. “I also love the idea that my job is like a puzzle that needs to be solved: who is the right producer and right outlet for my client?”
You may come up with a brilliant connection your client has to a television show or newspaper, but it may not be enough.
“You need to have a thick skin,” says Parker. “You get a lot of rejection and a lot of silence from producers that don’t want to cover your clients.”
Ultimately, though, when she does snag that coveted interview or press coverage for her clients, all the efforts she put in were worth it.
“I love the rush that you get when you confirm a big interview,” she says, “or even just the ‘perfect’ interview for the project.”