Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Confession: I hate PR

I have a confession to make: I HATE PR.

To be more specific, I hate being a PR practitioner.

Why?  Because of the unusually difficult expectations I place on myself and the inevitable disappointment; because I hate being pushy, especially with strangers; because in its traditional form, it's dying; and most importantly, because it doesn't feel authentic to me any more.

Which doesn't mean it's not the right profession for others, or that there aren't others practicing PR in new and exciting and pitch-perfect ways.  Because there are.  But I don't want to be one of them. 

When I initially started freelancing, I wanted to be a writer.  But PR opportunities kept falling into my lap.  And I kept taking them, because, let's face it, in the beginning stages of entrepreneurship, any money is good money.

And while my business philosophy has evolved into a more holistic approach to communications, I'm still known as the "PR girl."  And I still feel compelled to take on business that doesn't excite me, just because I can and it pays the bills.

At least I did until two weeks ago, when my oldest paying client and I parted ways.  It was an amicable parting (they are moving on to bigger and better things), and while disappointing, it was ultimately freeing.

I don’t HAVE to be a publicist. I don’t HAVE to take on work that doesn’t excite me. I don’t HAVE to do or be anything I don’t want to do or be.

Which doesn't mean my current clients won't benefit from my expertise in traditional PR and media relations, or that PR won't pay a role in future communications campaigns.  But it's only one piece of a much more comprehensive strategy.  I want to teach my clients how to create their own content and opportunities, to find their unique voices, to become their own best advocates.  I want to be more than just their publicist.

And that is something I’m passionate, excited and honest about, something I would be proud to market and sell to others.   Because it’s MY truth.


  1. I feel a bit of the same way towards the Interior Design industry - nobody likes to be put into a box! Who says we have to follow the tradiational career paths and job roles of our said professions? You're already making your own lane... congrats! ;)

  2. Thanks, Niki! I'm glad you understood where I was coming from--I want to do more than just traditional PR--it's really about empowering women to be their own publicity machine! Good luck to you!

  3. Perhaps it is just my social marketing background or my young age but I have honestly always wondered why people didn't just do their own public relations. Why have an intermediary to talk to your publics? Media relations is another thing (which I also have an opinion that differs from the mainstream). Basically, the roles of marketers and PR professionals are colliding with new social technologies that enable business owners. It is up to us to evolve and stay relevant in a quickly changing world. Your growing discomfort with PR is just you reacting to the observed changes. Hang in there and keep working toward where you'd like to be.

  4. I think a lot of this is that you are *more* than the PR girl, that what you are and what you do for people is not some cookie cutter, easily defined thing. And maybe you don't have the exact words for that, which is fine right now and is part of the journey. But it's awesome to be in the place of knowing what you aren't. :)

  5. "Pitch-perfect" - tee-hee!

    And...yes. This looks to me like clarity. Well done - can't wait to see where it goes.

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  7. Hi Laura,

    Fabulous - I'm so with you on this. I have one biz that pays the bills - marketing - and one biz that feeds my passion and soul, my counseling work and leading retreats.

    I love how you said that you want to help people find their voice - that gets thrown around a lot - everyone is trying to tell the truth, find their voice,etc.- but I think very few people really get what that means, what it looks like and what can happen for you when you do and even fewer know how to help people find theirs. I have no doubt you can.

    Congrats on your new path!


  8. Thanks for commenting, Mike. I think you said what I was trying to say, but much more eloquently. PR and marketing and social media are colliding, and the PR "box" just doesn't work for me any more. It's only part of the greater picture. I'm trying to figure out how to move beyond that and provide greater value to people while still empowering them to embrace technologies and learn to advocate for themselves.

  9. Very brave and exciting!! Can't wait to see what's next!

  10. Completely agree with your comments and Niki's (since my point of view comes from the Interior Design industry too.) It's so unfulfilling to take on work that doesn't fuel your passion. I think those are the moments that remind us to seek out what really inspires and empowers us!

  11. I hate computers, but I love computing. Computers are a tool towards doing what I enjoy. They're not the only tool, but they are an essential one. Sounds similar to your view on PR. What we enjoy doing tends to be more abstract, and we use computers, mathematics, PR, social media, etc. as the tools to build towards the abstract feeling. Or at least that's how I see it.

    And it's turtles all the way down for me. The same general principle applies to tying concrete projects into a longer arc and moving forward rather than treading water.

  12. Great post Laura. I too crossed over to the dark side years ago!

    PR in itself has always had an identity crisis because it overlaps so many areas. Your remit expands and contracts according to what the client defines your job to be. I've done everything, it seems, from ordering crockery to selling, but I was always still the PR lady.

    Good on you then for not allowing people to define you! I look forward to future posts about where this journey leads.

  13. Like Mike's comment too. The business is changing, and one of the many reasons I named my Solo PR practice "3 Hats" Communications. PR, marketing communications, it's all changing, becoming more social and integrated. I'm a Jill of many trades generalist with small business clients, so the variety of work helps with some of the career ennui which I share with you.

    Applaud you for writing this, Laura. Nice.

  14. I love this Laura! Really great post. You have to stay true to what you want and if you don't really love it, I say don't do it. (Dear self, take some advice here :))


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