Down and Dirty: the Nitty Gritty of Entry-Level Work at a PR Agency

 

Literally, if I had a nickel for every time I went out of my way to tell young, up-and-coming PR professionals about the insane stress levels associated with PR, I’d probably have just under a dollar. Figuratively, I’d be a millionaire. You see what I did there? I’m a riot. Anyway, it’s that kind of wittiness, in addition to a few well-timed puns, of course, that’ll keep your brain from turning to mush while working in PR. 

Sadly, in reality, what you’ve learned about PR from “Sex and the City” couldn’t be farther from the truth. Exchange the posh, glitz and glamour for a numb buttox that’s been sitting at a desk in front of a computer all day long. However, if you can manage to pull your head out of the proverbial clouds and set some realistic expectations, you’ll have a much better shot at making it in the hectic, but also rewarding, field of PR.

Prepare to Type Your Fingers Numb

This is by far one of the biggest stumbling blocks for new PR professionals. They honestly have no idea how much writing is involved in the daily activities of a PR person. Whether it’s a press release, email pitch, digital promotional, strategic social post or bit of web copy, writing—in one way or another—is going to occupy nearly all of your time while in the workplace. 

Basically, if you still haven’t managed to obsess over editorial perfection, you need to strongly reconsider whether or not a job in PR is something your going to enjoy.

Multitasking Is More of a Skill Than You Think

Remember that stress that I’d previously mentioned? Yeah, this is what’s responsible for a huge part of it. You’d think that a desk job wouldn’t come with too many workplace surprises and drama, but in PR, that’s certainly not the case. 

Someone gets fired, deadlines are missed, project funding gets cut—whatever it is, there’s always something that’s going to push responsibility from someone else’s plate onto yours. Think you’re already full? Too bad. Adapt and survive. Burst into tears and find yourself heading back home with your tail between your legs.

Some Clients Really Suck to Work With

If I’ve learned anything during my career, it’s that I should’ve taken the babysitting responsibilities my parents gave me when I was younger more seriously. It’s not that project managers or your points of contact at your accounts’ headquarters aren’t intelligent or that they aren’t capable of doing hard things, it’s just that they think they know more than they actually do. 

Seriously, hop on LinkedIn sometime and see how many people put “marketing,” “social media” or “public relations” on their list of hard skills. Now, of those people, how many of them have actually worked in any of the aforementioned fields? Truthfully, very few of them. Needless to say, you’ll work very closely with those who haven’t, but are painfully vocal about the fact that they still have a firm grasp on the way things should be running down at your shop. The short of it all? It sucks way hardcore.

Forgive the blunt nature of my comments, but they’re pretty spot on, if I may say so myself. The time is now yours. Am I making sense or completely casting an unnecessary shadow on my industry of choice? Let’s take this conversation to the comments section below.

 


Lucas Miller is the Founder of Echelon Copy. When not writing, editing or running, he's working tirelessly to perfect what he claims is the "World's Greatest Pompadour." Additionally, for what it's worth, his editorial works have been featured on Social Media Today, Business2Community, Ragan's PR Daily, Spin Sucks and many other top-tier PR publications.