As if it wasn’t enough to have a busy, stressful job – someone had to come out and do the math. According to Careercast.com – I’ve got one of the top 10 most stressful jobs – #7 to be exact in their research. What’s worse is that a few of the jobs ahead of PR exec’s carry weapons. This is by no means a response to diminish the unparalleled service that armed services personnel, police, fire or the others listed, simply to highlight some of the challenges PR professionals face and to agree fundamentally that Public Relations is a difficult job.
The article notes that “Public Relations Officers are responsible for creating and maintaining a positive image with the public for companies, non-profits and government agencies.” In this day and age of 24/7 anytime anywhere media, that’s a lot of pressure. Unfortunately the pressure PR pro’s often face, comes from inside an organization from senior leaders who fail to understand the profession.
I’ve met some amazingly talented PR professionals and they are an incredibly talented group of individuals who have an amazing ability to process information and cut through the clutter (a rather polite way of describing organizational bullshit). I find most of my PR colleagues ‘professionally assertive’ and able to connect the dots much faster than others in organizations I’ve worked in when the proverbial fuse has been lit.
Throughout my career however, I’ve witnessed PR professionals defending their expertise in the most critical moments and spending far too much time educating individuals about ‘the possible’. The possible, is what can be done in any given moment. I’m reminded of a joke that has a PR exec sitting with a CEO – and facing a reputational crisis the CEO says, just make one of those ‘viral videos’.
Experience tells me that CEO’s and others about just exactly how PR works. Creating a solid PR campaign starts with a solid product, service or idea. All to often, PR pro’s get caught up in an effort of trying to clean up messes that should never have existed. As I noted in a previous post, leave the spin at home unless you’re selling dishwashers. First create a good product, then market it – not the other way around.