Have you ever played the game “Pass the Message” where the first person whispers a sentence to the next, and that person whispers it to the next person, and so on? The point of the game is to see just how far off from the original the sentence becomes when it reaches the end. No matter how many people in the chain are, the messageis always different at the end.
In the real world, there are people who make a living trying to make sure that we get the story straight. It’s called public relations, or PR. Working in PR is probably one of the most fast-paced, exciting, and challenging industries to be in. They say to get into PR, you need to write and speak well. While that is true, there’s more to the surface that just attending events and glamorous product launches.
Fresh out of college about less than two years ago, Katrin Arcala, PR Account Executive at Perceptions, Inc. on weekdays, and mountaineer on the weekends, shares how she got her first job working in PR, and what it really feels like to be working in this kaleidoscopic industry.
How long have you been working in PR?
What experiences did you have with PR before you decided to pursue a career in PR?
How did you know a career in PR was for you?
When someone says, “I work in PR,” what do they mean by that? What do PR agencies do for their clients?
Working in the Public Relations industry means working as a messenger of truth between the client and the public. PR professionals make sure that the public is aware of the brand and what it does, and turn that public awareness to the public’s support for the brand.
In retrospect, “I work in PR” equals to setting the public’s perception of the brand through traditional media. But now, “I work in PR” has evolved from print/tv/radio to the presence of digital sites/blogs and social media influencers. For in truth, what better way to reach the public than to send messages through the channels they tune into day and night?
PR agencies, or the PR arm of a company for that matter, creates the campaign by which key messages of the company are in tact. This is coupled by tactics such as events, press briefings, interview arrangements, etc. to set the messaging in stone with the goal of reaching the relevant market through media publicity and social media presence. So from counseling, campaign theories, to message setting and onwards to execution — a PR agency can do it all.
In your opinion, what’s the best part about working in PR? What’s the biggest takeaway you got from working here?
PR professionals breathe proper communication. While we position brands to the media and the market, we also position ourselves to the client. With this, my biggest takeaway would be saying and doing what needs to be said and done. We go down to the nitty gritty of sentence construction and word choice to the office clothes and overall look in a boardroom. Every word you utter and every act you make will reflect you and your intentions. So you must be deliberate in what you do – everything you do.
What types of experiences and coursework should someone who wants to pursue a career in PR do in college? What did you do?
It is funny how people say that being an outspoken, ‘people’ person is top priority. While it is true that the PR industry is an arena for the louder voices and the go-getters, one skill that can really help you in the industry is being a good writer. Writing is such a fundamental skill in the PR industry, and needless to say, reading a wide array of topics to improve writing is imperative too. Explore these areas if you feel that PR is for you.