Apr 22

Basically, You Need a Degree in “Everything” to Do PR

I’ve been at Sabo PR full-time for almost a year – on top of six months as an intern. Of all the things I have learned while I’ve been here it’s that public relations professionals will need to learn a little bit of everything to be successful.

The other day, Brian and I were designing a map for a client and found ourselves asking geographical questions when it dawned on me: I should get a degree in everything to do my job! When I first started as an intern, I got a peek at the different client work that we handle but since I’ve started full-time — I’ve seen it all…and then some.

If you asked me four years ago if I thought my career would show me how a municipal water plant operates, how to curate an art show, how lawsuits move through federal court or how regulations are enacted by municipalities, I would have said no. I continue to learn new things every day and am so happy to learn something I may never use again – if that means it can help me do my job better.

In college we learned the basic definition of PR as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” I agree with that statement, but I think all PR professionals could probably go on and on. The better question is “what ISN’T public relations?” Crisis communications, media relations, internal communications, special events, social media, community relations, speech writing, the list continues.

At most universities, the communication programs are separate from marketing and advertising, and public relations falls under both, depending on the program. There are things my studies could not even have anticipated I would need to know, such as knowing what granular active carbon is.

The most important part of our work always comes down to people. Mary Ann always tells us to put people first in everything we do. During a crisis when clients come to us needing immediate assistance, our first questions is always, “How is the person at the center of the issue?” Whether that be the employees, family members or victim, people always come first at Sabo PR.

Regardless of the industry we are helping – municipal, non-profit, manufacturing, professional services, retail, education or others – it all comes down to people and the things they do to earn a living. Our team is willing to learn about water chemistry, extruded polystyrene, tribal law, recycling, mining operations, public safety, PAD, compromised immune systems, utility rates – and the list goes on so that we have a better understanding of how to relate to the people in that field and what we can do to help.

Check out this photo from Spin Sucks, a professional development website for PR and marketing pros. This picture really says it all.

And did I mention municipal tax rates, the Headlee Amendment, end-of-life care, data breaches….

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