Most people don’t understand what public relations is.
Part of the problem is that it varies so much across different industries – from working in product PR and sending out samples, to organising huge launch events, to sticking your head inside a research paper and condensing it into a press release – it’s all PR. The purpose is pretty much always to promote something or someone, raise the profile, get seen, be talked about.
To this day – and despite half a decade at this very agency – my parents still aren’t totally sure what I do.
“The stereotypical “PR? Oh, so you just push out press releases then?” or the equally demeaning “PRs spend their time lunching, getting drunk and talking b*ll*cks” perspective,” is something that particularly irritates our Head of Practice, Kerry Ruffle. “Yes, PRs will distribute press releases, but it’s only a small part of a job which takes a great deal more creativity and forethought to do with any degree of success.
“A press release, when written intelligently and used correctly,” she says, “is still an incredibly powerful tool. The problem is too many misinformed, time-pressed or plain lazy media professionals do not take the necessary time to write a release which considers who the intended audience is and what information would be most relevant to them, set it out clearly and concisely and, finally, actually send it to the right people!”
As for going out and getting drunk all the time – if that’s true then we’re doing it wrong!
Sophie O’Sullivan, Account Executive here at BlueSky, agrees.
“A popular misconception is that PR provides a glamorous lifestyle consisting of no real work - only attending events and partying. Stereotypes like this have come into people’s consciousness because of characters such as Samantha Jones in Sex and the City, a PR who stated that, ‘’I don’t believe in the Republican party or the Democratic Party, I just believe in parties.’’
It's an opinion that’s rife among many of those who speak to our team.
Kate Mowbray, Senior Account Executive, has had people think that she just goes to events and hands out free products to bribe journalists. Peter Remon, also a Senior Account Executive on the team, has had to battle the suggestion that PR is all about social media and he spends the whole day using Twitter.
We spend our time interviewing fascinating alumni and pitching their stories of success, from setting up companies worth millions to changing whole industries. We dive into complicated research papers and craft short, sharp press releases. We arrange meetings with journalists all around the world, from Sydney to Singapore. We help target markets for student recruitment. We develop effective social media strategies. We offer expert advice on the business education landscape, and so much more.
So please don’t tell us that we spend our time at parties if you’ve never worked with us.
We could show you a thing or two about how PR should be done.
To find out more about what we do, and how to create and deliver impactful PR strategies, please get in touch.
Author: Stephanie Mullins