Published on October 30, 2017, at 2:47 p.m.
by Mallory McDonald.
According to the Public Relations Society of America, “Public relations is a strategic communications process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” But what actually falls under PR, and how do you know which niche is right for you?
“Public relations” is an umbrella term consisting of multiple different branches. One of the most difficult decisions PR students must face is deciding which facet best suits their skills.
Some PR students will excel in writing while others may thrive in developing creative content. When first deciding to major in this field, it can seem overwhelming having to choose which direction to take. What if you are proficient in multiple specialties? Or, what if you don’t gravitate toward any of them?
Making this decision will be different for everyone.
It is important to understand the various departments before thinking of which one could be your best fit.
Media relations focuses heavily on writing efficiently and effectively on behalf of your client. If you love to write and have strong interpersonal skills to build lasting relationships with members of the media, you may have just found your PR home.
The digital department hones in on the World Wide Web. This is where social media and web design masters prosper. With a creative eye and a keen sense of what will compose effective user platforms, digital specialists shape a brand’s online presence.
For anyone who is inclined to design and generate interesting graphics and visuals, the creative specialty is calling your name. From start to finish, a design team will have full control over the creative process for the client.
In order to implement and evaluate a successful public relations campaign, extensive research is required. The insights or research department handles all pre-, mid- and post-campaign evaluation.
1. Try your hand at each. Just because you may have more skills in one of the areas doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try them all. Giving yourself experience in each of the different departments makes you more versatile and more confident in your decision.
2. Assess your strengths and weaknesses. While it is important to try each department, it is also crucial to evaluate your own abilities and limits. Find out which department best fits your strengths and start there.
3. Find what you enjoy. While your skill set is important, enjoying what you do is also significant. With so many options in PR, make sure you enjoy the work you are doing. There are too many other places within the field to not enjoy your specialty.
4. Plan ahead. Can you see yourself building a career in this department? If you cannot see yourself climbing the ladder prosperously, you may want to consider a different route.
5. Talk to experts in the department. If you believe you have found your perfect niche, talk to someone who has worked in the industry within that area. Ask any questions you have and discuss what work is like in the field to see if that matches your goals.
There is no exact science to finding out your perfect niche in PR. Odds are you most likely will try multiple departments before finding the right one. The key is to go ahead and start testing out the waters so when the time comes to apply for jobs, you already know your dream destination.