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Public relations as a career path

Q: I graduated from college in May 2013. I am working in a marketing agency. I love the energy and working with clients. I have a special interest in public relations. Can you tell me more about that field in general?

A: Congratulations on landing your first job out of college! That is an achievement in itself! It also sounds like you chose a field compatible with your interests and skills.

In the world of marketing, public relations (PR) professionals have one of the greatest challenges of all. In short, a PR professional tries to create and maintain a favorable image for their employer (or client if the PR person is employed by an agency). Theses professional might media releases and/or be the spokesperson for the company.

To learn more about the world of PR, I consulted Craig Librett, Senior Director of Public Relations for the Westcon Group. Librett explained, "Public relations is probably the least understood function in all of marketing. It’s most popularly been portrayed (inaccurately, I might add) in movies like “Wag the Dog." The PR practice is all about creating public perception. Our industry is squarely focused on moving the needle regarding how people view a company or individual – and includes customers, partners, and the media. Anyone with a strong writing background has a great chance of success. The virtual Rolodex is key – as it’s all about the media you know. The goal is to develop relationships and guide the press into writing (hopefully positive) stories on your company. Few realize that – when reading an article in a publication and it mentions a company – a PR person most likely was behind getting the journalist to write the story. Social media avenues (such as Twitter and Facebook) have opened up a whole new world for PR professionals – meaning a new way to guide public perception.”

One other resource to learn more about PR is the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Visit www.prsa.org about joining PRSA and also training and conferences offered.

Good luck exploring this new interest in marketing!

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