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by Belinda Sieben

How many times have you told someone what you do for a living only to receive an ‘ok cool…’ response and be looked at with a blank face. It happens to me all the time. Sometimes I think they get confused and think I am a PA and other times I think they have absolutely no idea and are too embarrassed to ask what it is. Ask any person on the street what public relations is and I bet nine times out of 10 the response is complete confusion…

PR is such a complex field. There’s many different aspects to the profession and it’s hard to know where to stop. With an array of varying daily tasks from media relations through to events and partnerships and more recently social media, it’s tricky to encompass the entire scope of the public relations field.

So how do I explain public relations to my friends? To my parents? I tend to break it down into the three categories below and always give examples. This gets the heads nodding and eyes lighting up with understanding.

Media relations: I talk to the media. This is a big chunk of my role. I get my clients on TV/radio, in the papers and featured online to share their news. It’s not advertising as we don’t pay for it. We don’t guarantee placement but any coverage we do get usually has much more credibility. For example, when a new restaurant opens, we will host a dinner at the restaurant for media to come and try the food and drink and then they will often write a review of the restaurant afterwards in the paper or on the internet. Or, if they have launched a new product (i.e. a bottle of wine or new chocolate range) then we might help them to send the product to a journalist in a unique way. We get the product in front of the media, so they can see it, taste it and experience it –hopefully they love it and write about it!

Social media: I create content for my client to post on their Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN accounts. This can be anything from images of product and venue, helpful information, writing articles and promotions through to pop culture and memes. We’ll generally work on a month to month basis so it can all be scheduled and approved in advance. I also engage with the social community and make sure all the customers questions and comments are responded to. One of our major aims with social media is to increase fans and followers across all channels so we will help a brand create a strategy to do this.

Content creation: I write copy for newsletters to help clients share news and information with their customers. For example, for one of our pub clients we will find out all the activities and promotions they have going on in a month and help them to put this into a format that will make their subscribers want to read all about it. This includes writing headlines, sourcing images and laying it all out nicely.

Now this certainly isn’t all there is to PR but it’s a good start… I could keep writing for days. Every day is so different and every client wants a different approach. The PR landscape is constantly changing but that’s what keeps it interesting and why I love it.