How to Know Where You’ll Fit in Best
Since the very beginning of my educational quest towards a public relations minor I have often found myself pondering the question, “What really is PR?” As I took different courses I started to notice that there was a lot of comparison going on between public relations, marketing and advertising, the Holy Trinity of communications in my eyes. My professors and textbooks all agreed that the three separate industries have their similarities, but all are distinct at the same time. Public relations and advertising have always been the two paths that stuck out to me the most, but I couldn’t tell which one was a better fit for me.
Luckily, this past summer opened my eyes to what real life is like in these industries. I had the opportunity to intern at an advertising agency that also had a sister PR firm working out of the same office. While I was a marketing intern on the advertising side, I still got to see first-hand what was happening and occasionally help out with the PR firm. It was such an amazing experience and it made the line between public relations and advertising so much clearer for me.
When I first began my internship I saw similarities between the two. Both industries had about the same target audiences in mind. They also both aimed to spark positive feelings about their brand through whatever kind of message they were sending. While both the advertising and PR side of the office were sending similar messages to consumers, it’s how and what kind of mediums those messages are sent through that makes the industries different.
The first thing I noticed was that advertising and PR each go after different kinds of media. Advertising revolves around paid media. The agency creates assets for either a spot on TV, a page in a magazine or a post on social media that has been paid for. For the PR folks, their biggest goal is to get earned media for their clients that won’t cost them a dime. Something I also found to be different between the industries is what their work was focused on. Advertising is more content and sales based, while PR is more event and relationship based. These are just a few of the several ways each of these professions differ, for more click here.
When trying to decide which career path to take you have to think about what kind of work you enjoy doing most and the ways in which your creativity thrives. I have always valued relationships and reputation in my life, which is why I feel more drawn to PR. If you are still wondering where you belong there was a great article written in Forbesthat says it all. It opens with a great quote, “Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.”
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