Day in a Life of a Public Relations Publicist
Everything PR News has broken down a typical day and tasks for a PR Publicist. We have highlighted four difficult areas of PR – Fashion, Entertainment, Government, and Mergers & Acquisitions.
Keeping up with fashion trends and the top fashion PR blogs is difficult enough for the average fashionista. For fashion publicity, it’s akin to an Olympic track race with the goal of winning the Gold Medal. The day might begin with reviewing newly established fashion houses. These are generally the best sources to add clientele to a fashion PR firm.
The next step is contacting these new sources and creating an affable, rewarding business relationship. Fashion houses are horrendously hectic. There are designs and garments to be created, fashion PR plans to develop and fashion shows and other related events to organize.
Clearly, the job of a fashion PR publicist requires the diplomacy of a politician to wade through myriad fashion house staffing to get to the direct designer or business decision maker. The fashion publicity representative takes no chances with split second gaps in communication with contacts. The first thirty seconds of the communication is the most important.
No Time for Lunch or Breaks in Fashion Publicity
The hectic world of the fashion industry is equally hectic for fashion publicists. Once a contact is made, the value of the communication needs to be spread as thin as possible for maximum benefit to the fashion PR company. This usually means developing a plan of action on how to promote the needs of the new client. This plan may include organizing the branding and SEO of the client, as well as providing a timely, cost-effective program of publicity promotions and advertising. For fashion PR to be effective for new clients, visibility is a priority.
An Average Day of a Fashion PR Publicist
For the fashion PR business individual, new clients are one part of the average day. There are numerous existing clients who require assistance with new promotions and advertising campaigns.
Some part of the day may also be dedicated to upgrading digital and SEO content for maximum public relations benefits. An average day of a fashion publicity in the fashion PR world doesn’t leave much room for error or second guessing clients’ needs. As with most publicity, deadlines are always part of an average day. Deadlines exist to insure that ads, videos and online content meet those of clients’ competitors and also fashion pr companies’ competitors.
By day’s end the fashion pr publicist must review the activities of the day to identify areas that require follow up. An average day of a fashion PR company is busy, productive and always hectic.
Day in the Life of an Entertainment PR Publicist
Entertainers constantly inform the public. It’s a full-time job to keep the people informed, and so they often seek PR professionals’ help. For PR people in this field, it is a cutthroat competition to get the clients, get their information into media sources, and to deal with clients who can be demanding at the top or their game, and needing extra help when building their reputation. To do this job well, you’ll need a few things.
Exceptional Communication Skills
That’s written, verbal, and possibly in the limelight, adding stress to the situation. Writing’s a big tool of the trade including press releases, blog posts, emails, and internet updates for social media if the client wants that service.
Expressing error-free, clear, and concise written work becomes especially important. Anything with grammatical or spelling errors raises concerns about your professionalism and authority. Verbal communication skills come into play when talking to the press, colleagues, and clients on a daily necessity. Clients want good communicators overseeing their public image.
Whether sending out press releases or planning entertainer’s events, keeping them informed also keeps the relationship working. If not, people won’t consider you professional, and there goes any possibility of top-tier clients.
Yes, it’s cutthroat, but finding the delicate balance between showing rows of shark teeth and building relationships with open communications and easy rapport needs to happen. The relationship building in entertainment PR is vital. Clients need to respect and like you, and you’ll need to understand what people’s goals and desires are. Once you’ve gained that knowledge, you can focus attention and efforts to accomplish their goals. Keep an open mind, appreciate the differences in people, and build trust and respect by being worthy of those.
Keep to the Principals of Your Life
Having gained understanding and experience, don’t let others treat your assets as if they have no value. Sometimes controlling and confronting difficult issues becomes tantamount. If the client is worth what you offer, they’ll respect you keeping them on a forward path. Always be honest with clients. Not having those difficult conversations hurts you in the long run. Remember, sometimes you’ll need to say no, so get on board with the possibility.
There will be times when crisis management becomes necessary. An extensive contact list serves as an essential tool in this sector. Expect to work long hours, of course, that’s true of most PR jobs. You’ll need to know and understand the whole range of people, from producers, angel investors, caterers, and junior reporters.
Most of the firms thriving in this area are near Los Angeles though they also usually have satellite offices in New York. If this area interests you, start looking for an unpaid internship with one of the powerful firms in the field and then find a friend who lets you sleep on their couch until you have a paying gig.
Government Public Relations
If fashion is New York and entertainment is LA, then government PR is primarily Washington DC. If this is your interest, you should already be eating, breathing, and sleeping politics. Prepare to be smart, savvy, and ready to jump in and control any PR situation about to cause damage – quickly. Above all, you’ll be working with politicians and diplomats, so diplomacy becomes crucial.
Falling short means the boss may not get re-elected, or worse, rumors and scandals could spread across every supermarket checkout area in the U.S.
Generally, when dealing with the government side of PR, it is referred to as public affairs or information specialists. Like many things about government, that’s a red-tape kind of thing.
If working directly for a government agency in public affairs, the salaries are similar to the private sector up to about the mid-level management positions, with the benefits often better than found in the public sector. But whether working directly for a government agency or with a PR firm, working in or around Washington DC has some of the highest median incomes for public affairs professionals.
Many high-level government communicators say some of their best perks allow them to be personally involved in decision-making affecting the lives of people their agency represents. Many also enjoy the ego gratification when rubbing elbows with big wigs such as mayors, governors, or even the U.S. President.
If DC is not an option currently, then get to your state capital and start there. Internships usually are easy to find in the government sector of PR.
What happens in PR firms for Public Affairs?
Work includes managing media relations as well as its websites and social media presence. Media staff establishes media relationships with print and broadcast reporters, develops strategies for upcoming events and announcements, responds to press inquiries, and prepares press releases. You’ll keep senior management leaders informed of prospective and breaking news stories surrounding the firm and their clients. Direction of community outreach activities with U.S. Government agencies and other stakeholders ensures messages make it to appropriate audiences.
Lobbying and Campaigning
Lobbying factors strongly for many government PR firms as does running PR for political campaigns. These two areas often fall in the same category since political campaigns include getting bills passed and publicity garnered to aid that process. If this area interests you, look for opportunities to serve on campaigns or work with non-profits with a national or global base. Contacts become imperative for those excelling in this sector, and many contacts build from those campaign or non-profit roots.
Connected to political campaigns inevitably will be speeches. Crafting great speeches creates a value not easily found so if this is your forte, take every opportunity to use and improve the skill. Speechwriting efforts put you close to policy makers as you’ll need to know what agenda moves them and what they oppose. Speechwriting is much like storytelling, doing it well quickly sets you apart.
Mergers & Acquisitions PR
Every mergers and acquisition (M&A) deal involves people and becomes complex with variable technical details such as what type of entity remains, buyout deals with assets, stock, or a combination, and a variety of other issues including contingent purchase agreements, third-party nondisclosure agreements, or undisclosed liabilities. Advisors in M&A often act as a sounding board or armchair psychiatrist to the client.
Understand many M&A deals, if not planned properly and without an experienced advisory team, don’t make it to completion. Parties become uncertain or wary during the long process, and too often the completed deals fall short of expectations. M&A done successfully needs an experienced team with a strong track record.
Be ready to offer guidance at all stages of the process. But what PR firms do besides the guiding and supporting – a lot of communicating. Starting with the formal announcement to the media and prepping the spokespeople for both sides of the deal. Creating communications strategies when dealing with employees, including information about legalities of what can and cannot be said while in the process of an acquisition. The FCC has strict guidelines to follow, and everyone needs to know their role and how to perform it.
If the job is done well, often the PR firm will help once the new organization merger completes to relaunch their brand and keep them moving forward. But M&A is an area of specialization requiring understanding of the FCC guidelines, what emotional issues might arise, assuring employees where they will stand after completing the merger, and so many more issues.
If this is a field interesting to you, research those firms in your area with a good M&A reputation and find out what they look for in interns and employees, then build your resume and experience level from that standpoint.