BEHIND THE MOVERS AND THE SHAKERS The dreaded question for a long time now What's your profession Here we go I thought to myself and responded with a bright Public relations With as much of confidence as I could muster and then waited for the muddled looks What I received was actually far worse That's OK people don t know about my profession either came my friends muffled response The words kept ringing inside me far longer than required I was seething inside anger indignation all related emotions clouding my mind at the same time My inflated self image about being in the PR industry began to deflate My indignation at the lack of acknowledgement and respect for the PR professionals was palpable I realized being defensive of my trade a booming industry that's bloodline to any organization's success was not going to help my cause of educating ignorant people about PR Public Relations specialists are most sought after in the universe today yet most often we are least understood and least utilized Why Forbes contributor Robert Wynne hit bull's eye when he said The public relations industry does a terrible job of public relations Brutal right But these seemingly harsh words may have some truth in them Few people actually are aware of what people in public relations really do If you re a doctor an engineer a cop or a cowboy everybody knows your job and what you do on the job and that I think is the reason behind our hamartia as people don't know what we do So let's explore the possible reasons for our hamartia Enhancing others image rather than self image Very often Public Relations professionals go unappreciated and unnoticed though they are the most powerful people behind an individual or business PR has the power to make or break one s business completely PR may be the last thing on the mind of a small business owner where as it should be amongst the top of their considerations
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As it can elevate them to the stratosphere of success Our days sometimes nights also are all about devising strategies influencing convincing promotions and campaigns We ve always been good at selling our clients story but unable to sell ourselves Our biggest challenge is and has always been educating people on PR Making them understand that PR isn t just about media relations but also about media advocacy Only a handful of professional in this space can explain what people in public relations really do Mistaken for advertising and marketing We don t do advertisements i e we don t buy ad space for the company's PR focuses on getting free publicity for the companies through press releases conferences etc We do not write stories for media In fact PR practitioners have no control on how the media will react to a particular piece of information shared with them The work we do is relatively low cost and is less tangible Its more behind the scene backstage work which often goes unnoticed and unrecognized We are used to this and generally take it in our stride But when we risk losing our identity while trying to fly under the radar that s when the problem starts Though overlap exists in terms of certain jobs Public Relations and advertising marketing are entirely different entity We are mainly a relationship building entity The way to emerge from the shadow is to establish our identity by highlighting our individuality avoiding overexposure Public relations are a two way street with multiple trips between the client and the PR professionals as compared to advertising which is a one way street with the target client at the other end Though public relations and advertising are strategically different they're in the same ballpark Ignorance within the industry This is more with students and fresher s in the field They think PR industry is all about page 3 limelight parties and hobnobbing with the movers and the shakers They think PR professionals go to office for a little while as they have very little work to do and life is all about fun meetings and then go home and smile and relax Reality we go in early because we have client deadlines updates Events and someone dropped the shell Strategize for hours for another client as they're really restless just to have them change their minds at the last minute SO and so forth
For people to change their mind set we have to change our mind set first We need to practice before we preach Respecting our job first before expecting respect from others will set the ball in motion and rolling Way Forward Simple We have to do what we are best at doing i e be our own advocates For fresher s first time PR professionals first and foremost educate yourself on the industry Lap up all the knowledge about the industry soak in the nuances take pride in the industry talk about it and get people talking about it For industry veterans practice before preaching Be advocates of change create awareness which is the first step to solving any problem We have to learn to craft our own story also as we are master storytellers We have to increase and sustain our credibility as not being fly by night operators It will not happen overnight but let's create a reputation the PR industry deserves Bill Gates once famously said If I had one dollar left I'd spend it on PR highly unlikely situation for Mr Gates but it speaks volumes that someone as successful as him would choose to spend his last dime on PR
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