The Public Punching-bag Professional

I recently bumped into a fellow PR professional who was visibly upset after walking out of a media house. While walking towards me he gave such a disappointed look that his smile almost faltered. We exchanged pleasant hellos as we passed each other but didn’t stop for a brief conversation. I wanted to ask him what went wrong, but instead I tried answering the question myself by analyzing what possibly could have happened:

Being a Public Relations professional, this guy was smartly dressed. He carried a neat folder that contained press releases and other documents and held a blackberry smart phone. I believe his company was out with a new product, quarterly results or a CSR initiative and this guy was there to get the news published. By the look on his face it seemed as if he was not able to sell the story to the journalist and now had very few options left. He was apprehensive at the thought of going back to office and informing his boss about the development. Probably he would have gone back to his car to think of a brilliant excuse.

Some publications are very critical to crack as majority of its readers are your target audience. Not getting coverage in them means you are in deep trouble and soon you will be doing a lot of explanation to your boss (if working in Corp Comm) or your boss along with the client (if working in a PR Agency). Whose fault would it be? Obviously yours, the journalist will never come in the picture even if they had agreed to do the story earlier but backed out at the very last moment.

Life of a public relations executive is at times similar to that of a punching bag or a rookie in the ring with the likes of Mike Tyson or David Haye, here’s how:

Firstly PR Executives get a combination of jabs and sucker punches from the journalist when they call them for coverage, send them spam mails or call them to confirm if they have received the press release and if it the news will be out tomorrow.

If the news is not carried by the media then there are some upper-cuts, hooks and head-butts by your boss (it would end here if you are in a Corporate)

Lastly (if with a PR Agency) your boss goes on to meet the client to give an explanation as to why the coverage didn’t appear. Without doubt the meeting was a disaster and your boss was taken for a ride. The boss would return (without doubt this would be the final round) to deliver a combination of power punches and then KO or KTFO’D

At the same time, life isn’t that bad. PR Executives are mostly able to successfully pitch new stories to journalists and get ample coverage even in a highly competitive environment where several agencies are vying for limited editorial space. Journalist also can’t do without them as they’re often a source for stories and ingenious press releases. Above all, Public Relations professionals generally get fat pay-cheques.

Kenneth Peter —

4 Responses to The Public Punching-bag Professional

  1. Debby says:

    Man what an image! Hahaha. Sets the mood perfectly. I dont know much about the life of a PR professional but from what I hear from friends who are in that field, I have to agree with most of the points. Life sure isnt too easy when you need to meet such a plethora of people with varied ways of getting on your nerve. Even more so when you know you have to keep at it and sell your story no matter what.

    The conclusion though, says it all – they get fat pay cheques. That pretty much covers up for occupational hazards. 😉

  2. kennethpeter says:

    Hi Debby! glad you liked the image. I had to create one as I was not able to Google an appropriate image for the post. As I have cited some of the hardships, would also like to highlight some of the positives –
    The Industry offers tremendous learning as you are exposed to multi industries/ multi
    personalities, you work in a dynamic environment, use of multiple skill sets etc etc

    Well as of now, life’s kind of a boxing ring as I’m soon going to experience most of the above. The months been a little busy, hence had no time to write a new post 😦

  3. Debby says:

    Yup, the exposure will surely be rewarding… good luck with your soon-to-have experiences. I hope you have an enjoyable time. 😀

  4. kennethpeter says:

    Hey Debbs, thanks for your wishes, well still occupied – more store/product launches etc etc
    Feel really sad as i’m unable to update my blog 😦

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