With consumers already annoyed by Halloween's premature "creep" back into stores
, far be it from me to even think about Valentine’s Day. However, as an industry, it's never a bad time to reflect on all of the things there are to love about public relations. Here are my top 10:
Public relations jobs consistently rank as top careers in national media polls, government census statistics, industry associations and business analyst reports. Few careers can boast continued growth during an economic recession.
The entrepreneurial nature of public relations work is invigorating. Great ideas and sound strategic thinking are welcome at all levels of the business. As such, if you take initiative and show how your great ideas will positively impact business, you can truly carve out a niche for yourself and advance accordingly.
You’ll never be bored in public relations. It is an ever-evolving industry and the fast-paced environment ensures you won’t be sedentary. From social media marketing to event planning, to media training and beyond—the creative, strategic and tactical work you might do is never the same on any given day. If you thrive on variety, this career is perfect for you.
Marketing, advertising, promotion, sales and public relations disciplines are rapidly integrating. With traditional silos blurring, public relations professionals are increasingly leading business and marketing strategy and earning the respect of the C-suite executives. There is nothing more rewarding than helping an organization overcome business challenges.
There is great satisfaction in seeing the results of your hard work. Whether you earn a “Today” show segment or see an increase in website traffic, knowing that you are the reason your client or company exceeded its goals is incredibly gratifying.
You never stop learning in the public relations field. Public relations requires a great deal of intellectual curiosity. Whether conducting research for a new project, trouble shooting a client issue or interacting with a dizzying cast of characters (colleagues, clients, journalists, consumers, etc.), you become smarter and more aware of the world every day.
For dedicated public relations professionals, the hard work outweighs any public relations perks. But it can be fun to work with your favorite celebrity, travel to exotic locales, sample cool new products or dine at the hottest new restaurant.
Some of your best friends in life are likely to be those with whom you have worked. I know many public relations professionals who have met their future spouse or who maintain lifelong friendships with colleagues and clients.
Public relations, when conducted ethically and responsibly, is not about “spin” or pitching nonsense stories to uninterested media. There are thousands of examples in which public relations helps raise awareness, funding and educates audiences about serious issues, causes and organizations. Legitimate public relations professionals promote businesses that make positive impacts on society.
10. Anything and everything
Public relations skills apply to virtually every industry and interest area, providing endless opportunities to merge personal and professional interests. Are you a music junky? Pursue a career promoting bands or record labels.
How about sports? You may wish to become a sports information director or corporate communication professional for a sports team.
Love a great debate? Issues and crisis management are essential public relations functions.
Interested in science? Healthcare public relations jobs abound.
Do you want to help people? Non-profit or corporate social responsibility careers are rewarding options. The opportunities are endless. No idea what to do? Work at a public relations firm where you work across several industry sectors.
Join me in giving a toast to our passion for public relations by sharing what it is you love about our field.
Lorra M. Brown is an assistant professor of public relations/professional communication at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. She serves as the internship coordinator and advisor to the Student Public Relations Association. Prior to her faculty position, she held senior-level positions at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and Weber Shandwick Worldwide.
A version of this story originally ran on PR Daily in February 2012.