Often, the term “public relations” evokes notions of a glamorous, high-powered agency that makes it its business to put together events, visual artistry, storytelling, and campaign strategy for some of the biggest companies in town, much like how Don Draper does it in Mad Men. Unfortunately, PR isn’t all sunshine and roses. Here are 10 harsh truths behind the world of PR:
1. More than half your time is spent following the news
Be prepared for eyestrain. You need to keep up with what’s going on around you, and that means spending most of your day reading the papers and browsing social media.
2. You’re not just a writer; you’re a poet
The best copy or visual isn’t something you can just churn out in a few minutes. It takes hours of wrestling with words and brainstorming to express an idea in the most effective and creative way possible.
3. Time is worth its weight in gold
Slacking off? Not in this business. Pros regularly run to impromptu meetings and build decks for a pitch coming up early the next day. All the while, they have to be able to communicate effectively and with confidence.
4. A party with clients isn’t as relaxing as you’d think
While everyone seems to be having a good time, you and the team are silently panicking, anticipating the worse and hoping that things keep running smoothly.
5. Vacation leaves don’t always let you escape from work
When something serious comes up from the client or office, you need to drop everything and forget that you’re on holiday. You’re still on call 24/7, that’s why if you’re planning to go out of town, be sure to pick a city where you can stay connected.
6. Rejection is everywhere
Create. Revise. Repeat. Writing an article, illustrating a graphic, and preparing a presentation for the umpteenth time is not considered strange.
7. You don’t get credit
Keep your ego in check. You often can’t take credit for the great articles and campaigns you’ve made that are now circulating the media.
8. Clients are demanding
Patience is a virtue. It’s hard to decline clients, but it’s important to do so if what they want can hurt their strategy.
9. Deadlines will crush you
Sleep and rest are the last things PR specialists have in mind. Schedules can be very tight, with projects coming in at ungodly hours and target dates getting pushed earlier than originally agreed upon. Still, deadlines must be met one way or another.
10. Your to-do list never ends
There is always another project. PR agencies pitch then execute at a seemingly nonstop pace, and taking a breath could mean lost opportunities.
Despite these challenges, many PR pros accept these harsh truths for the pure love of the job. And sometimes, when everything falls perfectly into place, you can take pride in having a hand in the agency’s—and the client’s—success.
Got your own musings about the world of PR? Share them below!