Counterblog: 10 signs you are NOT cut out for public relations

Today’s blog post comes from Stephanie Lough, Account Coordinator at HMA Public Relations, the Phoenix affiliate for the Public Relations Global Network, our global consortium of independent public relations agencies.
I read a blog post about public relations this morning that upset me. I admit, I get a tad defensive when it comes to my occupation, and down –right snooty when people make assumptions about my job. But when it is another PR pro tarnishing our rep, I will not sit idly by.
David Brimm, the president of BrimmComm Inc. posted a top 10 list to PR Daily, typically one of my favorite public relations blogs. The post, titled “10 signs you work in public relations,” is lighthearted in nature, but is flat-out insulting if not just wrong.
I took the liberty – as it was somewhat liberating for me – to add my two cents.  The points are from the original post, the amendments are my own thoughts.
I call it “10 signs you are not cut out for public relations.”
10. During a date you are tweeting a reporter about a new pooper scooper.

  • It is my understanding that reporters hate getting sold on new products. Unless it is “VaPOOrize” with earthshattering new technology, leave that up to the advertisers and marketers.

9. A TV assignment editor threatens to break your dialing finger if you call again on deadline.

  • A good PR pro is aware of deadlines, has spoken to the assignment editor in advance and has set up the story by that date. If you don’t, you might get burned like this UK company did.

8. You didn’t take a single public relations course before entering the field.

  • Actually, I took a lot. Journalism was my major, with emphasis in public relations. So thanks for degrading my and thousands of other’s college degrees. This is feeding into the misconception that PR is just canoodling, throwing parties and playing on Facebook all day. You need to know how to write and how to write well. You need skills in communication, strategy, problem solving, budgeting….need I go on?

7. Your friends become nauseous when you want to talk about another new media placement.

  • My friends (especially those in marketing, believe it or not) do not understand what I do, so I refrain from trying to explain. If I talk to them about a new media placement, often they will pipe up about how they do PR because they update the company’s twitter or wrote a news release once, so I spare myself from being nauseous.

6. You sent a pitch to editor Jim Harris and realized it was Jill Harrison.

  • Wow. Really? You’re admitting you’ve done this? Ouch, I’m embarrassed for you. You failed to do fundamental research before pitching.

5. You lost a PR job because you told the recruiter that you “like people.”

  • This job is built on relationships and connections. Maybe you don’t like people, but you sure as hell need to fake it. No, scratch that. You DO need to like people.

4. You get excited when anyone at The New York Times takes your call.

  • Change “anyone” to “reporter or editor” and I’ll agree. If they are trying to sell me ad space, not so excited.

3. At 4 a.m. you’re at a TV station for an early morning segment.

  • Eureka! There is truth!

2. You have a PR budget that will just about cover a large latte.

  • This gripe is shared with PR practitioners the world over, but you call this an identifying sign of a PR person? Close, but no cigar. How about: “You can create a PR campaign with a budget that will just about cover a large latte.”

1. Your mother still doesn’t understand what you do for a living.

  • Only thing I would say about this is change “mother” to “just about everyone one not in PR or journalism.” My favorite example, one week into my first full-time PR job:

Friend: “So have you met any celebrities yet?”
Me: “Excuse me?”
Friend: “You know, cuz you’re in PR.”
Me: “Maybe some local newscasters…”
Friend: “Don’t you, like, do things for famous people like throw parties and stuff?”
Me:  judgmental stare.
(I have, as I am sure many others in the field, have met a handful of celebrities at press conferences, charity events and promotional shoots, but never “thrown a party” for them.)
What do you think? Do you agree with my changes or support the original list? Have your own amendments? Please share in the comments below.

5 thoughts on “Counterblog: 10 signs you are NOT cut out for public relations

  1. Stephanie – great post – here’s another one: You can’t deal with rejection. Rejection is just the initial pathway towards achievement. Thanks again for contributing. Cheers, David

  2. How well you write! Thanks for the laughs. I’m always delighted to hear your thoughts

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