Setting the Record Straight

Jessica Lee, Account Coordinator here. Ever since I started this fabulous job at LCI, I’ve gotten some interesting questions and comments from friends and family. “What is PR?” “Do you get to make pretty ads?” “Oh, so you’re the ones teaching CEOs how to lie to the media!” There are many myths and misconceptions about public relations out there, so if you’re unsure about what public relations is or what PR pros do, keep reading…

1. Public relations is NOT advertising

Though both have the same basic function – to build positive awareness of a company – advertising and PR achieve this goal in very different ways. Advertisers pay for ad space – in print, online, on TV, etc. PR agencies, on the other hand, generate “free” publicity – by managing our clients’ reputation through media relations and helping our clients tell their story to the media.

If you’re deciding on a career path, there are differences in job function as well. At an ad agency, you’ll either work on the creative side, conceptualizing and executing ads, or on the account management side, working with clients and vendors. In public relations, you’ll work with both the client and with journalists to get your job done. Personally, after interning in both fields, I found that public relations gave me a better balance of client interaction, business/administrative duties and creative work.

2. We are not “spin doctors”

Ironically, PR has sort of a bad rep – we’re sometimes seen as people who step in during a crisis to cover up a scandal and shield media from the truth. However, lying is something PR pros never do – in fact, one of the first things we tell our clients during media training is never to lie to the media. Public relations isn’t about spinning the truth – it’s about working with clients to determine how to strategically position their company and present themselves positively to the media and to the public.

3. Public relations is not always glamorous

My friend Lily has said to me, “Wow, your job sounds sexy!” But if you get into PR thinking you’ll be partying for a living, à la Samantha from Sex and the City, you’ll definitely be disappointed. Although we do coordinate fabulous galas and other events for our clients, event planning is just a small part of a PR campaign. There’s a lot of down and dirty work that has to be done every day, especially in entry level positions like mine – such as research, creating media lists, and lots of writing and editing.

I’m not complaining though – for me, the glamorous part of working at a PR agency is getting to work on a variety of clients and interacting with different people every day, from coworkers to clients and reporters. And all that un-glamorous stuff pays off when your team lands a big story or throws a successful media event, and you know your efforts have helped a client get great exposure!

Just because I don’t party all day doesn’t mean I can’t try and live the good life on weekends! Here are some Buzzworthy places I like to visit after all the dirty work is done…

  • MatrixFillmore – This bar has the BEST pomegranate mojitos! It is, however, known as a “meat market,” so I suggest stopping in for after-work drinks with a few friends, and getting out before the creepster crowd arrives – unless you’re looking for your next sugar daddy, in which case, stick around…

  • Infusion Lounge – This is one of the newest and hottest clubs in the city, conveniently located downtown. It’s a lot larger than it looks on the outside – and good thing, because the line always wraps around the corner!

  • Jupiter – Okay, this isn’t in the city, but I regularly visit friends in Berkeley, and we always end up at Jupiter. They’ve got a large outdoor patio, live bands, thirst-quenching beer and yummy pizza – try The Apollo, with garlic, feta, spinach, and sundried tomato. Mmm…

3 thoughts on “Setting the Record Straight

  1. Jessica – If I had a quarter for every time people asked me what PR is, I’d really be rich. Good work. . .and I agree. PR is ALOT more fun (and rewarding)! Cheers, David

  2. Hi Jess, great post this week! Truth is, the lines between PR, advertising, marketing, event planner and shrink blur so often I’M not even sure what PR is sometimes! That’s what makes it fun. Everyday is different.

  3. Hello: I am an independent professional pr entertainment service here in the US. I read some of the interesting points about PR, which agreed, can be many things. he most important thing in PR is to do a great job beyond the call of duty, impress upon the client how important it is for them to be seen in the highest possible regard, write and research every single point of interest when giving brand name description, and to look healthy, happy and classy.
    Classy can also be sassy. PR can be fun and has to be fun to take the stress off the pressure to meet deadlines, try and please the client, promote the PR service by doing a great job and having people hear about it, looking alert, and sharp at all times and getting the proper rest and nutrition to insure that one can handle long hours.
    PR is another way of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, after all its all about image, ingenuity, creativity, and sales.

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