Don’t Be Afraid of Communications

Last week I read the post “So you want to break into public relations?” by Mark Rose, who blogs at PR Blog News. It intrigued me because he started his post off with “this is a difficult and confusing time to break into the public relations business”. He then goes on to let people know that they are actually in great spot to enter the business.

At the end, in the comments section, a student about to graduate stated how people about to graduate now or in the near future “are scared of the new form of PR that is out there”. She stated that she was glad to hear Mark’s comments that is was the perfect time to enter the communications business because it was comforting to know that all they are working/studying for will be worth it.

I posted a comment in response to her comment.  My comment read as follows:

Great piece, Mark, I want to respond to Sabrina’s comment. Sabrina, don’t be scared. PR courses weren’t offered until my junior year, when business began to say, “hmmm…maybe this thing adds some value”. (This was in the late 1980s-early 1990s). When I went to grad school, there was not a PR degree, rather the university offered a “Masters of Mass Communications” degree. This program offered courses in each of the traditional mediums (tv, radio, newspaper, magazines and statistics). I think you are fortunate in that you are coming in at a time where you don’t learn one thing but have to practice another. One last thing – people still ask for a definition of PR and it is still hard to come up with a defining answer.

You see, it concerned me that people may be nervous about entering the communications business. The impression I took away from her comment was that she wasn’t sure she was going to be able to succeed. My intent was to let her know that she didn’t need to be nervous; I believe her generation is armed with a lot more knowledge of the latest trends, thoughts, etc., than my generation. (I listed my curriculum – way back when – in my comment above.) I like to think that the curriculum has evolved since my days as a graduate student.

Her goal, as is ours, is to strategically combine and determine which tools work best for a particular message, project, etc. And, to Mark’s point, it’s more important than ever to be a strong writer. Even with all the new social media tools and technology that is being added to our resources, the one thing that makes us stand out is our ability to write.

But I digress. Graduates and future graduates: don’t be afraid of entering the communications business. Know that many of us who are in the field have made it by learning as we go, trusting our talents and skills, and applying what we learn. We talk to each other to solve problems and avoid re-inventing the wheel. So many communicators are out there with so many success stories, you always have people to turn to versus trying to create a solution all by yourself. In addition, you will be bringing new thoughts and ideas to the table that we can utilize.

Embrace the challenge and enjoy your passion. Don’t be afraid.

What other advice can we give those entering the communications business?

Update: In response to my comment regarding a definition of PR, Mark was able to give me one from a previous post of his

http://www.prblognews.com/2008/03/20/barack-obama-master-pr-pitchman/:

“Public Relations is defined as the management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or an organization with the public interest, and plans, executes and evaluates a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.”

Thanks Mark!

Published by

Susan

Susan Cellura is a marketing communications professional with over 20 years of experience. She is a dynamic communications professional and enthusiastic team-builder, with a progressive history of success in designing and implementing communications programs for global organizations. A strategic thinker with the ability to understand the needs of multiple audiences and deliver solutions, Susan is a results-oriented problem-solver with exceptional interpersonal and negotiation abilities. Having worked in a variety of global industries, she has grown business communications in her current position via a strong mixture of strategic resources, including social media.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Be Afraid of Communications”

  1. Thanks so much for this! As a student set to graduate in 2 weeks with a degree in public relations, it is great to hear some encouraging words. Too many of my professors and peers hold views very similar to Sabrina’s. I am optimistic and excited to finally begin my career in a field I am extremely interested in and one that is continually evolving!

  2. This was a great post! I’ve been working in pr/marketing for 4 years, and I still wonder and worry sometimes. I certainly continue to learn everyday on the job. I also agree that practitioners in this industry are eager and willing to help one another, which makes it a great field to be part of.

  3. Jaclyn and Erin, Thank you for the kind comments and stopping by! I’m glad my thoughts and experience help. Your comments have given me food for thought regarding a second post.

    Remember, no matter how long we are in communications, we love it because it is always changing!

  4. Great post! I’m about to graduate and embark on a career in PR. You’re right in that PR is hard to define to this day, when my friends ask I end up going off on this whole tangent but I can tell they still don’t fully grasp it. I think its important to stress the communications aspect of it: that PR’s strive for communication between their clients and their audience. I think students like myself are (hopefully) well equipped because we’ve grown up with the tools that are used for this communication. I still think we have a lot to learn in terms of using these tools to their best advantage, but its a start!

  5. I think if it’s less about the fact that people are nervous about breaking into PR, and more about the fact they are nervous about the increased competition. The journalism industry has changed so significantly in the past few years, and the transition from journalism to PR is a natural one (I made the switch about 2 years back). As a result, you have more and more journalists trying to break into the field as well as the PR-by-trade folks as well. All that combined with the sinking economy, and the fact many companies simply aren’t hiring, I think there could be increased competition for fewer positions.

    There are definitely spots out there, but that’s just my two cents! Definitely an interesting read! Thank you!

  6. Sheema and Amanda, I’m so glad you found the post helpful. The beautiful thing about communicators is that we are passionate and we will find a way to do the best job possible.

    Amanda – your comment is spot on and there are many conversations going on about this very topic. Great food for thought!!

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