Way back during college days, I always dreamt of having a career that didn’t require too much of efforts, you know something away from the mess of brooding over an imbalanced balance sheet or understanding the economics behind the economic cycle.
I clearly remember this one afternoon when I was in Ahmedabad listening to the RJs (Radio Jocks) of the newly launched Radio Mirchi. I said to myself how cool is this career – getting paid to talk, talk and talk and I developed an immediate affection to it which later developed as my first job straight of college – the joys of getting into what you wanted to do is a real thrill.
PR is the art of promoting something and is different from advertising in that it is not limited to buying space only.
From the joys of being a radio jock, I became a PR professional, where talk was equally important but so was writing, strategy, relationships. PR is an art that each one of us must have, for ourselves, our family, our town, our country, our business. I think it can apply to just about everything one can associate oneself with.
PR is the art of promoting something and is different from advertising in that you don’t have to buy space. As wikipedia rightly defines it: Public relations gains an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. Because public relations places exposure in credible third-party outlets, it offers a third-party legitimacy that advertising does not have. PR isn’t limited to media only, it has no set boundaries, its reach is beyond just media, it encompasses how you deliver a speech to your employees and how you address a conference to how you interact with just about anyone. PR is Powerful and Highly Effective.
I’ll give you a simple example here, one that I often give to friends and family explaining what PR is. You take a newly launched perfume of two different companies – a Chanel one and say a Christian Dior. The former promotes the new fragrance in a widely read lifestyle magazine on a double page spread right in the first 10 pages of the magazine through an ad with a celebrity endorsing it and the latter is mentioned in the Editor’s note of the same magazine as ‘Highly Recommended or Editor’s Pick’. Which one are you more likely to pick up? Chances are the Christian Dior one, because someone is recommending it to you and this someone is the Editor of a popular magazine.
The key is to listen, understand, grasp and develop.
You get my point?
Now for someone who wants to get started in this field and it sounds exciting but lack professional degrees, don’t worry. You need to work your way up. To begin with start interning with a public relations agency or pick up an administrative job. It is on the job that you can pick up your skills and fine tune them. This is exactly how I started off. The key is to listen, understand, grasp and develop.
The most important thing for a PR professional is a thorough understanding of their media. Read your local newspapers, magazines, carefully understand its different sections, its style, who it is directed to, what do they write about. Follow the same for your local news channels and radio. I did this for the first few months and one day in a discussion, I told my colleagues, why not place our client in this section of this magazine. I showed them previous samples of the column. The idea was loved and that was my official entry into this exciting field.
PR stretches across many industries from fashion, beauty and health to construction, real estate, law and retail to name a few. If you have graduated in a certain discipline, getting into PR will not waste that effort. In fact your knowledge of that particular field will only be an add on. Look for PR agencies specializing in clients in your sector and approach them accordingly.
I hope this brief article paves the way for your successful career in this industry or in your life in general, for as someone rightly said, everything you do or say is public relations.
About Komal-Nishka Manglani: She is a PR professional based in Dubai, UAE. She has been in this field for five years now and has extensive experience with the Gulf media. You can direct any queries related to gaining further insights in this field to nishka.manglani at gmail.com
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