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PR isn’t a Profession, it’s a Lifestyle

PR isn’t a Profession it’s a Lifestyle

For all the change attributable to social media, if there’s been one overarching impact on PR professionals it’s this:  PR is not a profession, it’s a lifestyle.

So said our chief corporate recruiter in a recent internal conversation about our recruiting needs. The more I think about those words, the more I believe they ring true.  PR isn’t like accounting he added, you don’t just show up at 9 a.m. and work on a spreadsheet until five.  PR professionals are the hub of their organization’s social graph and social media never sleeps.

Any of Twitter’s 90 million Tweets a day could be a customer looking for help, a prospect looking for information, a critic with a need to be addressed or an opportunity to engage a new influencer.  Every social media outpost an organization establishes grows the requirements for useful, compelling and shareable content   – which in turn requires time and effort to produce.

Arik Hanson recently wrote a heartfelt post about the opportunity cost of social media’s time requirements.  Opportunity cost is financial lingo usually associated with capital investment where “cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action.”

“Success has a price,” he wrote. Indeed, I think Mr. Hanson is right, but his point also underscores how the role of the PR professional is changing.

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Photo credit: Pixabay (CC0 1.0) 

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5 Responses

  1. Beth Harte

    My friend, you've hit a nerve with this one. :)

    Of course, I believe marketing/PR/communications is a lifestyle and not a 9-5 job. Otherwise I wouldn't spend all of my "off hours" focused on the profession (and that was even before blogging and Twitter!)

    For it to be a lifestyle it goes WAY beyond any job. It's about how you use your OWN time to advance yourself and the industry. For example, as a PR practitioner do you:

    ** Educate yourself on your own time reading books, paying for conferences, attending local events, speaking?

    **Do you work tirelessly to make sure people don't equate PR to spin (i.e. publicity)?

    **Are you a thought leader (and I don't mean influencer. I mean someone who knows the theory and proves it to be wrong in this world of social media)?

    I hear all the time "anyone can be a marketer…anyone can do PR." I personally don't believe that is true. I think those who believe it's a lifestyle will always be heads and shoulders above the admin promoted to marketing/PR manager. But, hey, that's just me. ;-)

    Also, just to play Devil's Advocate, I can't help but ask this… Is your Chief Recruiter making that statement because he wants people to work 24/7 or is it because he truly believes that passionate (we are talking lifestyle, it requires passion!) people are the best fit to work at Vocus? (I am hoping it's the latter, of course).

  2. Stephen Loudermilk

    Great post, Frank! I also support the belief that "PR is a lifestyle not a profession."

    In today's fast-moving age of social media and 24×7 PR and marketing support, we all need to be passionate about PR on a continuous basis.

  3. Frank Strong, MA, MBA

    @Beth — definitely the latter. My father used to say, "do something you love" and I think that's what it comes down to. When one is captivated by their career choice, they gladly tackle the list of activities you aptly mentioned.

    @Stephen – thanks for the comment — spot on!

  4. Sherry

    Your post was tweeted by Kelli Matthews, and I make it a point to read anything she agrees with. I agree as well. If you are passionate about your profession and clients, your mind never sleeps. You look at everything as a public relations/marketing counselor, even when you don't mean to. Great post, and now I'm off to read more!

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