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The truth about PR

by Colette Lowe on September 16, 2015

Want to know the truth about PR?

Education is the key to creating understanding and ridding those pesky negative preconceptions that can often hound and taint many a sector and industry.

This is generally the role of PR, to pro-actively develop, action and maintain a strategy of communication that hits the right audience, with the right tone, the right information, and all at the right time to maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and the public.

Only the other day a client said to me they would never have received a request to quote from their dream client without the help of PR. Another said they didn’t have to hire a business development consultant thanks to the work of PR and the credibility it has given them.

This isn’t just great news for me but validation that the industry I work in does achieve what it says it does. But PR as an industry suffers from negative preconceptions, and I challenge those every day by doing a good job to dispel them.

Successful PR takes time and experience and the honest truth is PR isn’t easy; PRs just make it look that way.

So here I’m sharing with you 5 truths about the PR industry that many people just aren’t aware of:

1. It’s more than just writing.

Some days can be purely devoted to research. As a PR pro being informed and educated on a wide variety of topics isn’t just required, it’s essential. Some days it’s about problem solving and looking for solutions. Other days it can be devoted to looking for and creating opportunities for your clients.

2. It’s stressful. 

Whether it’s making sure results are achieved, being organised, staying on top of your tasks, working with different personalities, and managing those inevitable last minute demands, PR can be a juggling act based on integrity to do and achieve the best for the companies you represent.

3. It isn’t 9 to 5

Say goodbye to fixed routines. Being pro-active is the key but reactive equally so. You have to be able to react quickly and that can mean working during unsociable hours. Sometimes a response, a story, a statement is needed NOW, and no, it can’t wait until the morning.

4. Proving your worth.

Not everyone understands the importance of PR or the skills and attributes needed to provide it. ROI is generally king and the sole preserve of the sales department, but it’s important to demonstrate how ROI comes from PR activity too. Without reputation and credibility how would a company survive? It isn’t tangible people cry, reputation is tangible, it’s an asset that attracts and retains customers – what are customers worth? What’s your reputation worth?

5. Anyone can do it

Where do I begin?! You must be a self-starter, be able to spot opportunities, be a good listener, good communicator, good at developing relationships, be discreet, take responsibility, be creative, skilled, knowledgeable, a quick learner…

…The list goes on and any self-respecting recruiter will tell you not many people have all those qualities rolled into one. The number of people I have given the opportunity to fashion a career in PR and they just didn’t have the will-power, drive or inclination believing the job was just too demanding and not the glamorous party they were looking for.

If actions are the result of the perception of facts then PR is the part of your business that is working to create, change, challenge or reinforce perception. Your reputation doesn’t clock off at 5 and neither does PR.

Colette Lowe
Founder and owner of Chew PR, Colette has worked in PR for over 15 years. She has seen both sides and worked for consultancy and in-house teams providing her with an insight not many see. Colette will be contributing to the Public Relations section. Wakefield. England.
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