When I look back to when I was a child – let’s rewind to 10 years old – and was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I never uttered the words “public relations professional.” If I remember correctly, I said a veterinarian or a horse doctor. I loved animals and thought the career would be amazing. But in all honesty, it was mainly because I had absolutely no idea that there was such a thing as public relations.
Even in college I wasn’t entirely sure what a career in public relations meant, but I still went down that path. Now – fast forwarding a few years – after dabbling in event and sports marketing I look at my current role as a Senior Account Executive for Nevada’s largest PR agency. If someone would have told me that I would get to work in an industry that constantly challenges me to be creative, work on my writing (non-stop), offers unlimited networking possibilities and allows me to work with a variety of industries and clients that I love – I would have laughed.
I started working at Kirvin Doak Communications almost five years ago as an Account Coordinator – fresh out of graduate school with no real hands-on experience in the industry. The first few months went by and I jumped headfirst into everything and picked anyone’s brain that crossed my path. Now that I am here, I couldn’t imagine working in any other profession.
Instead of working with one field, I work in many different industries such as fine jewelry, music festivals, sporting events, rodeos, hotels, nonprofits, restaurants, gaming and more. I get to work on some of the most unique events from USA Sevens International Rugby Tournament, Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, Life is Beautiful to grand openings for VSiN sports broadcasting studio with Brent Musburger, professional bowling tournament facilities and equestrian arenas – not to mention being part of the PR team for Tiffany & Co. I could go on but that isn’t what this blog is for.
It’s been an amazing 4.5 years in my career with KDC, packed with different experiences and projects that have helped developed me as a public relations professional. So for those of you that are wondering what it is that we do, here are the top five things I’ve learned so far:
- There Is No Such Thing as a Typical Day –I am always being asked “What do you really do during your day” and “What does a typical day look like for you?” I ask myself that question multiple times as well. In short, there is no such thing as a typical day. Of course there are days you do the same activities like reading the headlines on the major media outlets in your area or looking for trending topics on social media, checking emails and clipping. But then there are the other days where you attend a client TV segment, assist with a grand opening, coordinate a ribbon cutting, draft endless pitches and pitch grids, write a statement, search high and low for editorial calendars, respond to countless emails or write a press release. Every day is different and that’s part of what makes this profession so interesting.
- I Hope You Look Good In Hats… Because We Wear A Lot of Hats – Outside of my one baseball hat – I have never found a good hat for my head. I had to quickly learn that it doesn’t matter how you look in the hat – be prepared to wear it because it is a necessity in public relations. We wear a lot of hats in this industry. Yes, writing is a key component to being successful but there are so many different facets that help to enhance the plans we build and the strategies we execute. From event planning, media relations, social media or advertising – it is important to understand and be able to apply these areas to your plans in order to best serve your clients needs.
- RESEARCH – The worst thing you could absolutely do when working with media is to NOT do your homework. You need to know every possible detail about the media – what they write about and what they have written about, who they write for… you could even go as far as hobbies and where they live (but don’t make it creepy). This is all very important information that you need to consider before you reach out to media – it could make or break your relationship and even a potentially really good opportunity for a client. Research not only allows media to take you seriously (and shows that you are invested) but also ensures that your pitch is getting to the right contact.
- Get Out There and Network – Being in Las Vegas there are so many different industries and networking opportunities. From day one it was drilled into my head that I need to get out there and connect with people, attend events and build relationships. It doesn’t matter if it is with someone in the media, casino industry or a non-profit organization. Almost five years later and this has still been the best advice my former boss could have given me. So now it’s my turn to say… step out of your comfort zone, introduce yourself and stand out. Growing professional relationships has made huge impact for me in this profession – I have made some amazing connections and relationships. In short, make your presence known because at the end of the day you are likely to work with that person in the near future.
- Never Be Afraid to Ask Questions – I would like to say the biggest thing I learned my first six months is how important it is to ask questions and take advantage of the knowledge your co-workers offer. At times I swore I bugged my superiors and colleagues with the endless amount of questions I asked. But if I didn’t ask – how else would I learn? I come into work each day and am surrounded by professionals that all bring different backgrounds and perspectives to the table. I would be an idiot if I didn’t’ take advantage of their knowledge. Each of us started in the same position, wide-eyed and no clue what we are doing and 9 chances out of 10 we have all faced similar – if not the same – challenges. Did I have the fear that I would make myself look stupid and unfit for my job – yes. But, it is important to ask questions, pick brains and seek help if you need it. At the end of the day, we are not just a firm but a team. Be a sponge, asking questions and seeking guidance is essential – not only for the good of the client or the company you work for but to help you develop into a professional.
While I only highlighted 5 things I have learned, I assure you the list could go on. Every day is a new day and brings new challenges, experiences and revelations. I am sure a lot of professions are like that but I am glad that my path took me this direction; otherwise, I would have missed out on so many of the amazing opportunities that I have been able to experience and be part of. Last thought of the blog… I am curious to what I will say when I look back 5 years from now and what I may have to add to the list.
Submitted by Jaclyn Dadas