Career Story: Public Relations Director For An International Pr Firm

Public Relations Director For An International Pr Firm

Job Title: Public Relations Director

Type of Company: An international public relations firm that focuses on healthcare, technology and professional services.

Education: BS, Management, Keene State College •• MS, Public Relations, Boston University

Previous Experience: I was an event coordinator and spokesperson for Boston's Fourth of July celebration and an office manager for Mugar Communications, owner of a Boston TV station.

Job Tasks: My job is to attract clients' press coverage. It's that simple. I work with major national media in print, radio, broadcast and online, through e-mail, phone calling and today's emerging social media, to land coverage. The key is the pitch -- making a complex story relevant to the average reader and compelling enough for editors to appreciate and assign.

I lead six client teams of 3-7 people each.

On top of press coverage, we aim to secure customer testimonials and industry analyst coverage (i.e. Forrester, Gartner, etc.).

A recent media campaign involved online banking and, specifically, online bill payment. Our client, a public company based in Georgia, hoped to use public relations to reinforce the safety, security, convenience, time and cost savings realized when paying bills electronically. Our team performed outreach to hundreds of daily papers across the USA, all the major consumer magazines and websites, and the top consumer television programs, such as morning shows.

The results were amazing. Over the course of a year, millions of impressions were secured in hundreds of media across the country. A Harris Research poll noted that a positive awareness of online bill payment was at 99%, up from below 50% before the campaign.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best part of PR is learning a little bit about lots of amazing ideas, concepts, services and technologies. It can be a lot of fun and always interesting. Also, we work in teams of tremendously talented and creative people.

The worst part of my role in PR is the constant client service that stretches from client service to threats of firing due to perceived negative results of the poor economy. If a client's product doesn't work -- based on sourcing or bad technologies -- they'll scrap PR and lay off the firm. This is stressful and can result in job losses.

Job Tips: Be flexible and understand all types of media, from print to radio to TV to online. And engage new technologies within the interesting social media like Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and others. Being nimble will help you be more appealing to more employers.

Watch and consume media, from daily papers to online news portals. Know what the national discussion is, from entertainment to business, finance to world events. Be engaged, as PR is right smack in the middle of it at all times.

Additional Thoughts: Embrace change. I have been in the same position for far too long. In our parents' generation, being at a job for a decade -- or decades -- was normal and respected. Today, in my view those young successful folks in PR are moving every 2-3 years, trying new types of roles and agencies, technologies and clients. Sample a non-profit. Work at an agency and at an in-house company. The more diverse you can be within your career the more valuable you will be.

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