Being in this industry is tough. There are two types of reaction whenever I tell people what I do. First, the blank face. Sure, they’ve heard of public relations but they don’t really know what it means. A girl who did my manicure actually thought I was a “working girl”, especially after I mentioned that I work from home. She sort of put two and two together.
The other reaction, an “Ohh” with a knowing nod and almost immediately followed by the noise of a wall construction. Yes, I made the latter part up but I swear sometimes I could hear the bricks banging together while they build an arm’s length thick wall between them and I.
Meeting people from the same field is such a learning experience for me. Admittedly, I did not receive any formal training in PR and I’ve only been doing this by myself for less than a year, I literally have so much more to learn. While things could sometimes get pretty rough and I’d find myself 100% lost, sometimes I’m just glad that I had decided to follow my own rules before I’ve familiarised myself with all the bad habits in the industry.
I’m really glad to have met and gotten to know people like David and his equally admirable colleagues who have allowed me see another side of PR that involves no bootlicking or air kisses or overpromising or just-getting-the-AVEs. It’s not about getting coverage without paying for advertisement. It’s about communicating effectively across layers, not just to the media.
I’ve come to a point where I’m very selective with people I work with. I’d rather help my clients to slowly but surely build a positive reputation rather than frantically gather a bunch of media reps for a single event that I myself barely know about. Has any product or service ever become THE talk of the town after one kickass launch anyway? The day after the free booze and massive media coverages, who remembers still?
Yes, it’s not easy on the bank account but at the end of the day, all I really want is this: When I tell people what I do, (1) they won’t think that I’m a prostitute or (2) not recoil in horror with assumption that I’m a two-faced witch who are just smiling for something in return.