Every industry comes with its own set of challenges and hurdles, and the public relations field is no different. However, there are certain challenges PR pros face that make this career particularly tough, especially under certain circumstances.
I don't think it's as stressful as a bomb squad technician or brick checker at the Great Wall of China, but a PR job can require the need for a stiff drink or an extra yoga class on occasion.
I'll be the first to admit the PR industry had an interesting beginning. The term "public relations" was invented to overcome what people thought of as propaganda. The Germans had adopted the term "propaganda" during World War 1, so the "good" (literally) folks in PR needed a workaround.
Edward Bernays, the self-appointed father of public relations, came up with the term. He basically entered the field because he feared people frequently made the wrong decisions.
As a result of his work and others, including Ivey Lee (inventor of the press release), those in PR were seen as manipulators. I suppose there is an element of truth to it—the man did get bacon and eggs to be seen as breakfast staples by swaying physicians' opinions.
PR pros today strive to spread goodwill between the public and their clients and companies. Today's world is different, and customers want openness and honesty, not some crazy story to get them to buy something. Yet the stereotype still exists that we want nothing more than to trick people into buying stuff they don't need.
The great thing about today's PR world is there are so many outlets to announce big changes and news for your company or client. The flipside? There are so many outlets available to announce changes and news!
It's easy to get overwhelmed when considering your options in PR. Want to announce a new product? Fine, go ahead—just figure out if your focus is social media, grassroots customers, blog contacts, or an old fashioned press release. Usually, the best way is a mixture of all, but it's trial and error until something sticks.
In years past, you had one, maybe two big outlets for all your news stories. We now live in a fast paced world, and people want news and information as quickly as they can get it. Blink and you missed it.
Everyone thinks they know everything
We love our clients, but let's face it—some of them drive us crazy. Nobody drives us crazier than the client who hires you one second then tells you how to do your job the next. They realize they're on Facebook all day, so they know how to run a social media campaign. Or, they wrote a press release in college and would rather you use their version.
Feedback is always good to have, especially when you have a business owner who is passionate about what they do. You want their message to be heard over the usual din of everyday life. Sometimes when they get in your way, you have to put your PR pro foot down. But then you risk going back to problem No. 1!
What's the biggest problem you face as a PR pro?
Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases and blogs at PR Fuel, where a version of this article first appeared.