“What we do here isn’t normal,” one respected colleague told me when I left the maelstrom of the newsroom for PR, a career move which has gained undeniable popularity this century. It is perhaps easy to see why: an invigorating change of pace in which reflection is favoured over snap decisions, ditching a lone wolf mentality and embracing a culture of collaboration, developing business skills, and becoming a fully-rounded media professional by operating on the ‘dark side’. It is also generally accepted that it offers greater career prospects, financial rewards, and work/life balance.
All of these fed into my reasoning. I clocked up over six years in journalism before joining Genesis PR, and making the career move has been a profoundly rewarding and exhilarating experience. The kaleidoscopic insights into life as a journalist could be overwhelming at times. It was certainly unpredictable, from interviewing David Cameron about local elections to David Van Day singing to care home residents.
So what has struck me just a few weeks into my PR career? Well, it is a different mental workout, testing your ability to organise, plan, and collaborate in a variety of ways (weekly phone conferences, monthly PR reports) just as much as spotting and developing angles and stories using your intuition and research, interviewing, and writing skills. It also tests your diplomacy and negotiation skills. It’s an enjoyable culture change.
Clearly, as a PR agency, we are an invaluable resource for businesses and organisations. But what has become very clear, very quickly, is just how invaluable: organising events (framed certificates, running order, photography), determining mission statements, redesigning websites (SEO, drop-down menus), managing social media, advising on data protection rights and other business issues. It is not just writing press releases and waiting for reporters to call, as some might imagine. It is multi-faceted, slick, and professional.