Many moons ago I started my career in publishing as a sub-editor on a range of trade titles until eventually reaching the giddy heights of editor.
Working in publishing, it is not uncommon to have quite a tarnished view of PRs. I often felt they were stalking me to check I’d received a press release and they frequently seemed unable to fulfil some fairly basic requests – was it really that difficult to get me a high resolution version of the picture I needed for my 12pm deadline?
Then a strange thing happened. I crossed over to the dark side and got myself a job in PR. Lured away from publishing by the expectations of cocktails after work and days spent on photo shoots with celebrities, I began my new job expecting life to take a far more glamorous turn.
However, those expectations were fairly short-lived and my impression of life as a PR very quickly changed. Far from the fluffy PR bunny image, PR consultants need to have many strings to their bow and frequently juggle the demands of many clients.
Now many years in, I do of course realise that those preconceptions I had as an editor were completely inaccurate. The reason I received so many calls from PRs on a daily basis is because they’re under immense pressure to achieve coverage for their clients. Why didn’t I get the images I so desperately needed? It wasn’t for want of trying; their client was unable to grasp the importance of my deadline and resolution requirements.
PR consultants need to be jack of all trades: able to create compelling, engaging and of course grammatically accurate copy at a moments notice; secure a slot for their client on the BBC Breakfast sofa and deliver sparkling PR campaigns on an often tiny budget.
So, far from mingling with celebrities and enjoying cocktails way into the early hours, PRs can mostly be found shackled to their desks trying to meet a tight deadline or on the phone negotiating a feature opportunity with an editor.
Now, if anyone reading this is aware of any careers where the main pre-requisites for the job are mingling with celebs and drinking Cosmopolitans please let me know – I’ll be brilliant at it.