While browsing the blogosphere, I came across a blog posted on The New PR, titled “Why it pays to be a geek in PR.” The title alone captured my attention, thus I read on.
In this blog, Ryan Anderson explains why it is crucial to have a thirst for knowledge in the field of PR. He compares PR to a game of chess, pointing out that in order to create an effective strategy, you must know how all the tools work together, just like in order to win a game of chess, it is valuable to know which way the pieces move in relation to each other.
Anderson offers helpful advice for those of us soon to be graduates breaking into the PR scene. He says that our best investment in our future is being a geek, which translates to understanding all the facets of PR and mastering all the skills incorporated in PR, not just being an expert in one area.
As graduation, and inevitably the real world, inches closer, I find this rather simple suggestion incredibly useful. In my past internships, I have interacted with PR professionals whose resume may be stellar, but only in one particular field. I have come across industry leaders who specialize in a particular area of PR and leave the rest to the other experts who excel in different areas. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think that having a broader understanding and mastery of all skills in PR rather than just focusing on a specific component and exceeding at it, is much more beneficial to you, your employer and your career.
What is your opinion on this? Do you find it more benefitting in PR to dedicate your expertise to one particular area of the industry, or do you feel that expanding your skillset to all fields of PR is more advantageous?
While reading some PR blogs, I happened to stumble across an article entitled “9 signs of a Bad PR Agent”. Of course, being a student getting prepared to launch into the industry, it caught my attention. I was quite curious to see what constitutes a ‘bad pr agent.’ Well, while I agreed with many of the reasons, some definitely caught me off guard and made me question the author. For one, number 3 that said ‘to spend time doing their own thing instead of what you asked him to do’. I had to question this one because often times, it seems that the client clearly doesn’t know what they want and it is up to the PR department to figure out the actual goals and objectives of the client. Many clients it seems, knows they need a change but don’t quite understand how to reach this objective. Thus, while the client may perceive the PR agency as doing their own thing, their own thing may be just what they need to be successful. This brings up the question, should pr agencies follow exactly in line with what the client says, or should they utilize their experience and expertise to determine what needs to be done?
Another problem I had with the article is number 8, which said ‘to spend time on elaborate plans rather than making phone calls’. This seemed to be the ideal stereotype that most clients have when it comes to a pr campaign. They think they are hiring them specifically for publicity and the more press coverage and news stories, the more successful the campaign is. However, what clients often fail to realize is that there must be an intensive amount of planning and research done before actually making calls and pitching ideas. Often clients don’t realize all of the preliminary work that goes into a campaign. Thus, it seems that all of the work put in by PR professionals is under appreciated.