I should probably start this post by noting that I’m an eternal optimist . . . I look at the bright side of practically everything, so if that isn’t your style, you may just want to skip this post. OK, that’s out of the way, here we go!
Maybe it’s the “dog days” of summer still, or the fact that we’re still mired in a major recession that has everyone in a tizzy and seemingly at each other’s throats in the PR business when almost every minor situation that arises. Accidentally blast out an e-mail to thousands of people and forget to use the very helpful—but often misused—BCC function? Boom! You’re facing at least a week of full-on ridicule from your own brethren. For many of us, it can get to be a bit too much sometimes.
I know for myself, I didn’t get into this business to ridicule colleagues. I actually want to see others in this business succeed, so when a big—or little—slipup happens, I usually try to give my quick two cents, offer some advice on how to move on, and generally stay out of the situation. By no means am I perfect, and I will be the first to admit that I am still eagerly learning as much as I can about PR (I come from a sport management background), so to me, I’d rather focus on the positives.
And that’s really the point of this whole post: We—the collective whole of the PR industry—have SO much good to offer, both to clients and our employers, that it really does not make a lot of sense, nor help at all, to constantly ridicule each other’s mistakes. And we’re awful about this. There is a sector of this business that almost seems to find amusement in ridiculing each other. How exactly that is helping to advance our business is beyond me.
It’s also a whole hell of a lot of wasted time and energy, and in a recession, can we really afford to waste either?
For me, I got into this business because I love to help others. Now working on the client side after five years working in college athletic media relations, my great thrill and enjoyment is finding a way to help the overall business efforts of my clients. Even if it is as simple as helping a client reach 10 more influential customers one week, then I’m ecstatic because I have helped someone beyond just myself.
Folks, we work in a service industry and, therefore, our top priority (at least in my opinion) should be focused on how we can help others. If you’re on the agency side, it’s how can you help your clients’ business. If you’re an internal PR person, it’s how can you help your organization best reach its customers and target audiences, and, more so now through social media, how can you drive customer engagement efforts. In short, think about how much good we can do for others when we truly focus our energies on doing just that, rather than constantly looking for the next 140-character zinger to tweet about.
So now I ask you: Why did you get into PR? What’s your favorite part of the business? What has you jazzed and excited to work every day?