As I was growing up, I never really thought of becoming anything else but a lawyer. Apart from the fact that I came from a family of lawyers, I thought I was built to become one. My self-confidence and impressive memorization skills back then made me believe that I was fit to be a part of the legal industry. But things have their way of proving you wrong because more than two decades later, I found myself taking a different path.
I found out about the Public Relations industry when I worked as a reporter in one of the Philippines’ business publications. I would always get invited to events by nicely-dressed women who spoke so highly about the companies and brands they were representing. I thought they were glamorous. Apparently, they were called Public Relations (PR) professionals. I did some research about them and what they do. My curiosity drove me to find out how it feels like to be on the other side of the fence. With the help of some of my friends in the industry, I was able to land a job in one of the PR agencies in the country.
It felt perfect in an instant. Despite the overwhelming work and the transition that I had to go through from being a journalist to being a Public Relations professional, I still felt like I was meant for this job. I may not have the best social skills, but I definitely worked my way towards delivering the best results and building good relationships with the people I was dealing with. Needless to say, I enjoyed all the perks and challenges that went with the job. So much so that seven years later, I am still in this industry, thriving and aspiring to be and do more.
While some would think that it’s all glamour and fun in a PR woman’s world, I would say there’s only half-truth to it. Because the reality is, behind all the glitz and seven-inch stilettos is a publicist or a group of publicists making things happen for a client. Executing campaigns and managing press events is one thing; drafting effective messaging and translating it into valuable content is another.
Spoke before the students of De La Salle University’s Ad Create Society about my experiences in the public relations industry.
Apart from the impressive logistical skills, an aspiring publicist must be a quick thinker, alert, and has keen eyes for even the smallest details. She has to be open to criticisms and must be prepared to get down and dirty – literally and figuratively. There would be times when she will have to carry huge boxes while walking on heels or sit on the floor to fix press kits while wearing a fancy dress. Working overtime and on weekends is normal. Sleepless nights are unavoidable. Dealing with irate and difficult people is something you have to be accustomed to. Overall, I would say that unknown to many, this job entails a lot of patience and a bucketful of blood, sweat, and tears. Your character will be put to test one too many times and questioning yourself and your skills will be inevitable.
But despite the countless challenges that one has to go through to make things happen for a brand, the feeling of satisfaction that one gets after delivering great results is incomparable. There is so much fulfillment in being able to meet your clients’ demands while at the same time improve a brand’s image. Add to that the number of stakeholders that you will meet as you complete a project – from the brand executives down to the staff managing the lights and sounds of your event. You may not possess the most outstanding social skills, but you will definitely learn how to get along with different kinds of people. You will figure out how to deal with them until such time that you can just breeze your way through different requests thrown at you. Plus, you will develop the charisma that you’ve never thought you had in you.
As a practicing publicist for seven years now, I think the best thing that I like about my job is the opportunity to learn more about it, develop new skills, and drive change not only for your client or your brand but also for a bigger community. It makes me realize my value and how my work, regardless of how big or little, can impact my surroundings. It also teaches me a lot about myself, especially my strengths, which I can use to achieve my objectives. It teaches me to be humble to admit that I will never have my way all the time; to be patient to wait for my requests to be delivered; and still, to be persistent because at the end of the day, what would matter is whether I am able to deliver the results expected by my clients and bosses or not.
There is still so much more to learn and discover about the public relations industry, but for now, I am happily savoring every opportunity given to me to make a difference for the company I am working for. Who knows, sooner or later, I might put up my own PR agency too?