What is Public Relations? To be honest, I didn't know public relations was a thing until my 3rd year of university. I knew elements of it - writing, storytelling and community management - but I didn't know the name of the profession. Through Twitter conversations, blog research, and reading, I finally figured out what I wanted to do. I completed my Master's in PR in December, and I'm still trying to figure out exactly what PR entails. However, I have narrowed down what PR isn't.
1) PR isn't Event Planning
An event is one out of many possible tactics we use in public relations. However, we don't focus on tactics. After hours of research, brainstorming, strategizing and more research, you may decide an event works best for your client, organization, audience, and budget. But honestly, there's a good chance you'll do 100 other things before you even consider planning your first event. If you wan't to be an event planner, you don't want to be a PR professional.
2) PR isn't Social Media
Social media is a huge part of public relations, but it's not the only part. We don't only focus on our followers, likes, or the platform we're using (though measurement is important). Instead, we use social in addition to the stories we are already telling. Social media complements our strategy, it isn't our strategy.
3) PR isn't Publicity
The first thing we learn in public relations is PR and publicity are not equivalent, no matter how many people pretend they are. We are looking for targeted, quality coverage. With that comes a lot of research and a lot of hard work. We aren't happy with coverage, we're only happy with quality coverage. In PR, we're concerned with outcomes not output.
4) PR isn't Glamorous
Let me clarify. We do get some incredible perks: samples, connecting with awesome people, attending cool events. However, we're not what is seen on television or in movies. We don't spend every evening drinking and rubbing elbows with celebrities. Instead, days in PR are long and hard. We handle crises, spend hours researching and planning, deal with tons of rejection from the media, and most of the time we're working that event, not attending it.