‘Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.’ – Richard Branson
Public relations is everywhere; every time you read a Facebook post, switch on the news, read a newspaper, talk to a friend. Even the way you present yourself at an interview... this is all PR.
PR dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries in the USA, where it was used to influence public opinion and promote causes. In the 19th century, PT Barnum was the first person to use public relations to promote the careers of celebrities and generate publicity for his famous travelling show, called the Barnum Circus.
Now, PR is used for everything; to promote events, businesses, celebrities, launch products, enhance a company’s reputation,build a profile. You name it.
While this practice is not to be confused with marketing and advertising, it is very closely related and works hand-in-hand with these industries.
This is an ever-changing,growing industry with general PR expanding, and the implementing of social media publicity adding extra value to a publicist’s skill set.
‘If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget I’d spend it on PR!’ – Bill Gates
Many companies don’t include PR in their budget and I always notice the damage this causes – a publicist’s role is not just to promote something, but also to build and maintain relationships, build an image, handle online brand reputation management, to sell a product, and more.
If you are organised, can work well under pressure, can keep clients calm, diffuse potentially hostile situations, and are a people’s person, then you should be a publicist.
Ronn Torossian said it best when describing this profession:
‘PR is a mix of journalism, psychology, and lawyering – it’s an ever-changing and always interesting landscape.’
But it is important that you learn the fundamentals of this industry. There are many people who call themselves publicists but have no understanding of what it entails.
That is why the course at Oakfields College is so fundamental to becoming a great publicist. It covers the industry as a whole; relationship building, writing an impressive press release, social media PR, communication skills, online brand reputation management, media relations, and more.
I love this industry and am so thrilled to be able to share my passion and knowledge with the next generation of publicists.