The last several weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. At the university I work for, we’ve hosted major events, announced a new president, among a whole host of other things.
I recall in my Principles of PR class in college, we discussed that the definition of PR can be difficult to nail down. Many have tried, but few can agree on one.
In 2012, Public Relations Society of America, took on the task to define this growing and ever-changing profession. When asked what terms come to mind when they think of PR, people thought of the following words:
After much research, debating and finally some voting, a definition was agreed upon:
“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
While I agree with this definition, it’s truly remarkable the many tasks that can fall under this seemingly enormous umbrella.
In the last several weeks I have been paid to:
- Coordinate an interview for a professor to be featured as an “expert” on a local radio show
- Attend and live-tweet during a university chapel
- Train other employees about social media management best practices
- Attend a youth event for more than 800 high school students
- Eat ice cream with high school students
- Instagram high school students in downtown Portland hugging a tree (while they participated in a photo contest for the university I work for)
- Release the announcement of a new university president to traditional and social media all on my phone (I needed to be with my mom for a medical procedure for her.) Thank goodness for my iPhone!
- Carry vintage suitcases filled with lights for a photo shoot
- Coach the university’s new president on talking points for a radio interview
- Drive the president to the radio interview
- Arrange a magazine interview for the president
- Monitor and measure engagement on more than five social channels on a daily basis
- Coordinate a video and photo shoot with the new university president and his wife (P.S. They are AMAZING.)
- Give my opinion as to whether or not the president should wear his blazer in this next shot or not
- Hold the blazer when the decision was made for him to not wear the blazer
- Ride in a cop car (front seat) on my way to a meeting at PDX Central Precinct to coordinate with Portland’s PIO for an upcoming emergency training event on campus
- Research crisis communication plans
- Attend a neighborhood association meeting
- Talk with local law enforcement about how to better secure campus
- Play volleyball with the Director of Alumni on the front lawn of campus while a major explosion went off on our campus as a part of the emergency training day with Portland Police. It’s all about managing perception people. (Wanted to make sure that neighbors and those passing by campus, if they looked over after the explosion would simply see two ladies playing volleyball with a beach ball. No emergency here folks!)
- Talk and build rapport with law enforcement
- Interview university students about their involvement with an event and share their photos and quotes on social channels
While the last few weeks have been extraordinarily busy, I’ve honestly loved every minute of it. There isn’t one of these tasks that I truly didn’t enjoy. There have been several days lately that I’ve been driving home and though, “Wow. I LOVE my job. Today was fun.”
In-house PR is very different than agency PR. Most everything falls on me. My boss doesn’t give me a single task, I complete it, cross it off my list and move on to the next.
I’m given an overall need or project. Then, it’s up to me to determine the next steps and a timeline in which I’ll complete those steps.
In this position, more than any other in my life, I often being my day thinking, “I’ve never done this before.” And then at the end of the day thinking, “Hey, I did that and it actually went well!”
I’ve never been responsible for so much and I’ve never learned so much ever before in my career. It’s thrilling, it’s exciting and the days and weeks are flying by. I was hired last August and we’re already coming up to summer! That’s crazy. Time in a job has never flown by like this before.
I think I’m in love.
I can’t wait to go to work tomorrow.