When you become a media relations professional, you almost instantly become familiar with the blank stare that settles onto the faces of those who ask you what you do for a living. Is it because PR practitioners don’t frequently publicize themselves or what they do daily? That may be; we tend to get bogged down spending our waking hours doing that for our clients. Or, could it be the fact that publicists don’t just do one job? It’s hard to pigeonhole a person who is at one moment hocking the latest and greatest adult pleasure products to editors at all the biggest publications in the country and the next escorting celebrities down a Hollywood red carpet while representing a holistic pet food brand.
The lengths a passionate publicist will go for a client know (almost) no bounds and haven’t been adequately addressed in any job description I’ve seen for the tasks we enthusiastically dive into every day. For this reason, I’ve taken it upon myself to blow the lid off this secret operation and share a few of the ancillary positions we find ourselves in from one hour to the next.
Private Investigator – There is no more determined force than a publicist seeking the contact information for a seemingly off-the-grid editor, freelancer, producer or celebrity agent. When the traditional methods of sifting through directories and databases have been exhausted, a social media hunt and Google search the likes of which you’ve likely never seen ensues until the reward of a valid, verified email address is produced. It sounds relentless – maybe verging on creepy – but it’s what makes us great at our jobs and excellent at helping all our friends determine if the person they matched with on Tinder is a catfish or not.
Coach – Not everyone is born ready to sit in front of a camera or hop on an impromptu call with an influential editor and speak brilliantly about their company. Media training our clients is a regular occurrence at Konnect, and with enough preparation, coaching and encouragement, our clients walk away from interviews confident and ready for the next one. This also makes us an incredible asset when an afternoon pick-me-up or inspiring word is needed on a gloomy day.
Travel Agent – We’re always on the go. Booking an unexpected trip? Having a hard time finding a nice hotel in a strange city? Looking for a last-minute dinner reservation at a restaurant that would make your boss proud? What about a Soul Cycle class anywhere in these United States? Ask a publicist – s/he’s been there, and s/he’s done that.
Therapist – No we’re not certified nor are we covered by your insurance, but our clients hire us because we’re good listeners, great conflict managers and we tend to give pretty great advice. We’re also ideal confidants as a decent amount of our job revolves keeping our clients’ news under wraps until they’re ready to announce it to the world.
Stylist – Whether our clients are heading to a cover shoot, launch party or an interview with their talk show host hero, don’t mistake the fact that we’re often seen in all black for a lack of stylistic know-how (we just don’t want to detract from your spotlight). Asking for and following a publicist’s advice on what to wear to any of these functions is prudent.
Influencer – We are out here spotting trends, posting about our clients on our various social media channels, telling our friends and family (and honestly anyone willing to listen for 5 minutes) what new service to use or product to eat, drink, lather on, etc. every day. We’re basically professional recommendation givers, and while we may not have a whopping one million followers on Instagram (yet…), we do have relationships with people who do since we’re also a social media agency.
Guinea Pigs – A publicist is the perfect test subject. We are the consumers our clients want to reach while also being ingrained enough in their operations to tell them what will work and what won’t before a product or idea gets too far down the production line to go all the way back to the drawing board.
This may not make the answer to “What do you do?” any easier to nail down; in fact, the shorter answer might be to the question: “What don’t you do?”
At this public relations firm, we certainly don’t do monotony. Each day (hour, even) is different and presents a new set of opportunities and challenges while we shout our clients’ names from the mountaintops to get them the publicity they deserve.