6 Reasons Why PR Is Stressful

One of my more colorful bosses was a communications exec with a very distinguished military background. His career included not only senior posts at the Pentagon, but two tours of duty in Vietnam, as a paratrooper. When things went wrong and I went crazy, he’d sometimes pat my shoulder, smile indulgently, and say, “It’s okay. No one died.” Coming from him, it was more than a cliche, so I tried to adopt that mindset. But, let’s face it, the agency life doesn’t exactly promote a calm, Zen-like attitude.

According to CareerCast, PR is the 7th most stressful occupation of the year. Stories of hellish deadlines, ridiculous expectations, and crazy hours are legion. But is PR really more stressful than other “non-combat” occupations? Or do we just love to think so? After all, it’s not life and death.

And yet, our profession offers some stress triggers that may be unique to the practice of public relations, or at least more significant than other service professions.

We serve many masters. Any client service business has special demands, but foot soldiers on the front lines of media relations have to answer to clients, direct supervisor(s), and, very frequently, members of the press. The goals of these three are often in conflict, yet we need to please all in order to be successful.

We trade control for credibility. The very magic of earned coverage is that its not within our control. The dynamic media environment we work in has only dialed up the risk – and the stress – of an unpredictable outcome.

PR is still poorly understood. Advertising professionals create something tangible, usually previewed by the client at key stages of production. Corporate counselors can be likened to lawyers, yet attorneys aren’t usually asked to guarantee results, and the cost of switching is fairly high. In contrast, client expectations for the PR process, timetable, and actual publicity results are often unrealistic. And, yes, this causes stress on both sides.

It’s based on billable hours. At many PR firms, you’re only as good as your billability, which can change from month to month. Both factors – pressure to prove one’s value, and lack of consistency – can pile on the stress.

Inside, it’s a staff position, not a line position. Billable hours go away on the corporate side, but there PR officers often deal with the fact that their function isn’t always considered integral to the bottom line. Many clients tell me they feel like mini-agencies who serve different corporate divisions, yet they don’t enjoy the esprit de corps of an agency. This results in the worst kind of battle fatigue.

PR is in transition. Well, what industry isn’t? Yet, the rise of social media and the speed with which new platforms, strategies, and tools must be mastered and adopted is only accelerating. More competition for mindshare, more opportunity, steeper learning curve….and more stress.
War is hell. And most of us wouldn’t have it any other way.

What’s The PR Potential For Pinterest?

After reaching 10 million monthly unique visitors more quickly than Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest is one of the most visited social networks today—that makes it important, period, and brands know this.
So, how can PR pros use it most effectively?

Here are 3 tips on how you can make your client’s Pinterest page a must-see.

Tips, Please

Everyone wants advice from an expert. If your client is considered an expert on a particular topic, use Pinterest to extend that perception by making their page a one-stop source for tips on that topic. This makes a page popular, providing value to your client’s customers.

Kate Spade NY, for instance, offers tips on dressing colorfully. HGTV? Tips on design.
Pinterest is where people go for easy-to-digest recommendations. Thus, pins should be functional. They should be tips for consumers to enhance their lifestyle. That’s what those who successfully use Pinterest for their clients understand.

(Consumer) Content is Key

While your clients are ultimately the experts, it’s great to let customers have a voice on their Pinterest page by re-pinning relevant content from them. In PR, we’re often too focused on one-way communication. However, social media has made everything two-way. Demonstrating thoughtful engagement by your client is as important (if not more) as seeing engagement from their customers.

What better way to do this then by repinning? Through this simple action, PR professionals can easily make client brands interactive while keeping their key audiences coming back for more.

Pinning is Learning

Repins have tangible value to both you and your client. When the content from a client’s page is repinned hundreds of times, internalize that and learn from it. If you pin something that sees little traction, whether through comments, repins or likes, maybe it’s time to rethink future similar pins.

Successful PR campaigns have learned to move on when things don’t work. Pinterest is a platform for your client’s customers to help you figure out what doesn’t work the brand you represent. Chances are, if it’s not loved on Pinterest, it may be off the mark.

Bottom line—when things don’t work on Pinterest, learn from it and move on. These are just 3 tips on how PR pros can use Pinterest effectively—what other strategies have you tried?