What does a day in the life of the digital public relations professional look like? Today, your practice can be described in two simple words: you are “always on.” When the Internet became our stomping ground for public communications, reaction time had to be much more immediate. Of course, social media continued to fuel the “always on” feeling even more because networks don’t rest and brands have to be prepared. When you accept a position in PR, you quickly learn the nature of the job requires attention at all times of the day or night, and new skills and practices are constantly in development.
Growing up, I knew I had to be involved in politics. From the time my mom took me to a presidential rally when I was only five years old, her political enthusiasm rubbed off on me. I helped knock on doors to get out the vote in high school and registered to vote the day I turned 18. There’s nothing like the thrill of election night, when all the hard work pays off and the candidate you believe in is allowed the privilege to work on behalf of the people.
Upon graduation from college almost five years ago, I noticed a common trend among entry-level job descriptions for which I was applying: public relations agency experience was preferred and sometimes even required. I had held a number of jobs and internships in the industry throughout my college career, but none were with an agency. I didn’t understand why working at an agency was put on a pedestal, but I knew that getting that experience would be an important step in my career.
Almost 17 years ago, I started my career in public relations after a five-year stint as a trade journalist. Since I have a social butterfly/people-person personality, I thought PR was all about mingling with the celebrities, traveling and promoting great news journalists were sure to write about. After I took off my rose-colored glasses, I realized PR wasn’t always peaches and cream and often involved using skill sets like crisis communications to protect my company’s image and brand.
A growing specialty in the world of public relations is employee communication. Positions with this area as the primary focus are found most often in large organizations, where the employee base is large and diverse. More importantly, these positions exist when leadership fully understands how employee engagement correlates with an organization’s success or failure. In a sense, employees are the organization, so it is hard to imagine a more critical stakeholder group.
Describing a day in the life of an employee communications specialist doesn’t sound difficult until you sit down and start to write. Why? Because every day is so different from the next. Let me begin by telling you, briefly, about our organization.