The start of 2020 brings new resolutions, and for me, it brought a new career path in public relations. Before beginning my position at Breakaway PR, I performed a host of jobs within the marketing sphere. I was doing everything from content to email marketing, working on websites, and event planning in combination with some PR. Or at least, what I thought was PR.
What I learned immediately upon starting a job in public relations was that my previous understanding of the profession was limited. While I was conducting outreach to community leaders and sharing big announcements, I did little that uniquely constitutes “PR.” Better said, I was a marketer employing PR tactics.
If you’re anything like I was, by now you’re thinking, “What is the difference between marketing and PR, really?” It is important to note that aspects of PR and marketing do frequently overlap. However, there is a distinguishable difference between the two – a gap I’ve had to bridge in a very short time.
Bridging the Gap
Starting in marketing, I learned early on that the driving factor is revenue. How and where can you best place information so that clients (or potential clients) will see and ultimately purchase your product or service? Is email the best avenue? Paid ads? Would targeted, account-based marketing advance your sales objectives quicker than generalized marketing?
Working in public relations, the main goal has less emphasis on monetization and more on driving awareness. How many times is the client featured in the media? Was it in print, online, on television, or maybe a combination of the three? Is the public aware of the client’s upcoming events? If not, how best can I share the information?
The Road to Expert Status
I received a bachelors of science in public relations at UT Austin. The key pillars of PR taught there – things like pitching and press releases – are still fundamental pieces of my job. On top of that foundation though, I’ve built new skills; navigating media relations and new business proposals, gaining client experience and learning new tools to handle client reporting.
For anyone looking to make the transition from marketing to PR, my best advice is to be prepared to feel confused and uncomfortable at first. As with any transition in life, perseverance is key. Stay on top of deadlines, lose the fear of phone calls, get a planner and enjoy the ride.
Needless to say, I’m not yet an expert, but the transition from marketer to PR expert-in-training is well underway.