Is PR Right for Me?

PR right for you... Ask Paul Revere

I just finished an interview with Angela Hernandez, the President of PRSSA at Central Michigan University (CMU).  I was very happy to interview with Angela because the topic, “Is PR Right for me?” is important for the growth of the public relations industry.  We need to attract future PR leaders who are the best and the brightest.  Garnering the experience of industry professionals and having them share perspective is a great way to motivate PR’s next generation of experts.

Angela’s interview really made me think deeply into my PR memory bank to remember and extract personal information about the growth of my career and to provide my opinion on what makes a good PR person.  Now, I don’t want to give away my answers, because Angela will be posting my interview on her blog, In the Lede, soon.  However, I will share a few of my favorite questions and then add a few more questions and answers to continue the interview here.

My favorite questions posed by Angela were:

  • What are three absolutely essential abilities a PR pro?
  • What are some “unexpected” skills you’ve used?
  • How big of a role does personality play in PR job success?
  • Fill in the blank: PR probably isn’t the right field for you if you hate to ….

A few additional questions (and answers) to add to the interview would be:

Q: How important is technology for today’s PR person?

A:  Technology is very important.  PR people need to understand how to use new monitoring technology to keep track of conversations in the blogosphere.  We must learn how to use WordPress, SharePoint and back end content management programs.  We also need to be educated on website analytics to understand consumer behavior on the Internet.  Lastly, I think that PR people should be savvy at Web search and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  With all of these new technology-focused responsibilities, the role of the PR professionals has certainly expanded.  There’s so much more to do, and, as a result, you are seen as an even more valuable asset to your organization.  As we focus on Web 2.0 and even as we enter into Web 3.0, the Semantic Web, technology will remain a constant.

Do you have a PR role model?

A:  My PR role model was a good friend of our family and the PR professional who helped me to secure my first internship, which later turned into my first job out of college.  His name is Fraser Seitel and when I first met him he was a VP at Chase Manhattan Bank.  Fraser was my 4th grade teacher’s husband and really someone that I grew up with and always admired.  As I developed in my PR career, I would see Fraser on Fox News commenting about different PR debacles and to me he is considered, The Father of Public Relations.  He’s best known for his college textbook (that probably every student has read by now), The Principles of Public Relations, which is in its 10th edition.  Fraser is the very reason that so many of us understand the comprehensive practice of PR and the importance of building a relationship.  Fraser has a private consulting practice today and is very well respected PR practitioner.

What was one of your favorite PR campaign and why?

One of my favorite campaigns was the launch of JVC’s GY-DV300 camcorder, a broadcast quality camera that streamed wireless to the Internet and the first of its kind.  So many times I’ve read in news releases how you have a “ground breaking” product.  Well, this particular product was truly revolutionary.  Because it was an MPEG-4 camcorder, you could stream content and upload it to your website in real time.  It was very exciting to have the physical launch of the Streamcorder in Baja Mexico at Fox Studios and be streaming live content of an interview taking place in Times Square in New York City.  The launch garnered hundreds of placements and the camera won awards by the major trade magazines at the 2004 National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas.  That was by far one of the most exciting campaigns because we were breaking new ground and introducing something that was never possible before.  JVC came to market with this product before Sony and Panasonic and it was spectacular!

I added in these three questions because they help a person contemplating a career in PR to see the type of responsibilities on a daily basis, the excitement of the campaign and also the nature and support of a PR mentor.  What questions would you add to help a young professional to answer the question:  Is PR Right for me?