As a teenager we are all subjected to this one question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and the answer they are looking for is a “Doctor”, “Engineer”, “Scientist”, “Teacher”, “Astronaut”, and so on and so forth or if the the kids are slightly ‘cooler’ then they would probably say an “Actor” “Model” “Miss India” and so on. I personally have never come across someone who said, “I want to be a PR Professional” or a “Social Media Evangelist”. Having said that, things are changing and they are changing for the better.
I do know of people who don’t understand a s**t about what we do and how we do it. For them we are probably the ones who didn’t make it as a Doctor, Engineer, IAS etc. so we landed up here. But the ones who actually know what we do, would appreciate how much we have to learn, explore and grow everyday. Ask any PR or Social Media Marketing professional today and he or she will tell you how challenging our job is.
For people who don’t realize the skill set we need to survive in the high pressure industry here are a couple of things:
Street Smart: Yes, you all might have the fancy MBA and doctorate degrees but if you don’t have common sense and don’t know what’s going on around the world you really can’t survive here. We have to deal with multiple sectors, speak to numerous journalists, pacify clients, meet our deadlines and somehow manage to get our work done by the end of the day.
Being Creative: We PR and Social Media professionals are always expected to think “Out of the Box” so if you can’t think creatively, well then you might as well think about something else.
Writing Skills: We need to have writing skills similar to the likes of any famous author, so brush up the language and pour in some really good words by good we mean that the one reading should need a dictionary for sure.
Patience: One who wants to be a part of this industry should surely have a LOT of patience. Let’s face it we have to manage the client’s expectations, wait for journalists to revert on our story ideas and pitches plus to top it all, we also have a “Boss” who will make sure our a** is always on fire.
Research Skills: We all face time crunch, so unless you can research well and take inspiration (read copy) from an international campaign by a similar brand for your client, well my friend it’s going to be tough.
Humor apart, communications today has made a 360degree shift and is clearly one of the most challenging, attractive and lucrative career options. Be it for a brand, a Bollywood movie, a cause, an election campaign, an event, showcasing talent or for that matter promoting anything a sound communication strategy is a necessity.
I have been in this industry for over 8 years and I won’t be lying if I say that I have enjoyed every bit of the learning curve. From being only about a ‘Press Release dissemination’ to today ‘integrating social and digital media campaigns with PR’ the business of communication has really evolved.
It is clearly the right time to be in the industry, to learn the tricks of the trade, to create a campaign that will be talked about for years to come, ‘Integrated Communication’ is the need of the hour.