Publicist. Such a loose term.
I often hear people say they “do PR” or they are a “publicist” and it confuses me because if you are not securing media placements then you simply are not a PUBLICIST. I think over the years the term got lost in the glitz + glam that TV and social media have shimmered on the profession.
As a publicist, I have a direct relationship with tons of editors and, for those that I do not, I work to cultivate those relationships over time with persistency. It’s really that simple. Having people skills and the ability to articulate pitches that catch the eye of editors is really important. I get lots of DMs and messages from aspiring publicists and students studying PR in college wanting to know exactly what I do and if there is any advice I can offer them. I think that being a Publicist represents living a certain “lifestyle” for most. If we’re honest, most publicists would say that majority of their time revolves around sitting on the computer, doing research on specific editors + relevant publications, non-stop pitching and following-up!
Being on set, going to interviews with clients, live tapings, award shows, red carpets, Hollywood events…I think those are the things that make PR seem so glamorous. For myself, I loved PR before I stepped foot in college. I, too, saw a show on MTV called PR Girls (and I am sure this is dating me so much lol) and it made me think, wow this looks like so much fun! However, we all know how TV can manipulate and edit what they want you to see. PR has been nothing like I ever imagined but, at the same time, it’s given me more fulfilment than I could have ever imagined.
Being a Publicist is beyond stressful and often a very underappreciated profession. In 2013, Forbes rated the “Public Relations Executive” as number five on their list of most stressful jobs. Check out the full list here:
Personally, I find this type of stress the good type. The type of stress that either pushes you to perform on the top level or just fail all together. There’s no better feeling than getting a client on a top publication or guiding them in the path to their dream outlet. This is beyond gratifying for a publicist, even on days when the client doesn’t seem as thrilled as you are at the opportunity.
If PR is a career that anyone is looking to get into, they should do their research beforehand because everything is not always as it appears on surface level. The dope publicists that I’ve met over the years have always had one thing in common – hustle. We hustle for hits, day in and day out and if you don’t have that IT factor, PR just isn’t for you.