When people ask me what I do, sometimes I think it would be easier to tell them 'Well actually, I'm an astrophysicist.' Telling people you work in PR usually gets one of the following reactions:
- Oh, so you do what Samantha does in Sex and the City?
- Is it kind of like The West Wing?
- Amazing! All you do is socialise; what an easy job!
- I'm sorry, you do what?
Right, I can't remember the last time I 'socialised' for my job, 80% of my time is at my desk, 20% is with my clients. As much as I would love to spend my time having liquid lunches and calling everyone 'Sweetie Darling' like Eddie, sadly - this does not happen!
I can't speak for everyone, but when I walk into my office in the morning, the President of the United States isn't casually standing there handing out work, I don't get to fly on Air Force One, and Rob Lowe is not my colleague.
Sex and the City's Samantha Jones is probably the most glamorous PR girl going, she is elite New York City, she is charm personified and she's also very fictional.
So what is PR? The other day I was on the phone to my 10 year old cousin; she asked me what it was that I did. The explanation I gave her works across the board. I asked her what she liked, she replied One Direction, and so I explained:
When you read about them in magazines or online, well, that's about their reputation. What PR does is looks after people, businesses or brand reputation.
Yes, that's not all we do, PR's deal with crisis management, social media, write speeches, lobby, but for now, let's just stick with the basics.
Daniel J. Boorstin, the American historian, comically said that: "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers." PR isn't advertising, PR isn't marketing, and PR is making sure that the way the public opinion of a client is positive.
The most important relationship a PR professional can have is with their clients, followed by journalists; it's not a job that you can do half-heartedly, it's the profession that never sleeps. It's more than a job, it's a passion. If you're like me, and never studied communications at university, you will find there is a lot to pick up very quickly. I know that I'm still learning, but the idea is that over the next couple of months, I'm going to share with you what I've learnt, and how you can get yourself ahead in the PR way of life.
So tune in to a PR Girl in London next week as I explain the 'Do's and Don'ts' of public relations...
Follow Katy Campbell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BerlinPRGirl