Reflections on the PR Industry by a Junior Consultant

By Lizzy Fan,

The Hoffman Agency, Shanghai

fall of advertising

I was first introduced to PR when taking a Marketing Communications course during my postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. The professor truly inspired my interest. We developed a marketing communication campaign for “Green & Black,” a UK chocolate brand. During the “campaign,” a voice in my head began to grow louder: “I want to do this as my career.” So I went to online PR communities and bought the book The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR to gain a deeper understanding of the public relations industry. (PR pros— I recommend you read this book; the case studies are extremely interesting).

I made my decision. My journey at The Hoffman Agency started on June 22, 2011.

Well, the reality is that PR is much more challenging than I imagined it would be. When starting out, I often felt confused about the evaluation of PR results.

PR is not like sales, where you have figures to reinforce your efforts. With PR, you may have to wait a long time for results, and you need to have patience, maybe even a little faith. But PR does have its rewarding moments. I’d like to share the most rewarding moment of my career so far: when the article I pitched finally appeared.

CEOCIO, a leading China IT business magazine, was my first successful client pitch.

The client, a global innovation consultancy, has many interesting stories that deserve to be heard. As part of the routine, I checked the contact details on CEOCIO’s website and found the right editor, then introduced my client to him on the phone and followed up with emails.

Fortunately, CEOCIO was interested in featuring my client in their column, and even better, the company’s CEO was planning a trip to China. What a perfect opportunity for a face-to-face interview!

Everything seemed to be running so smoothly, and as a junior PR pro with little media pitching experience, I felt as if the hardcopy was already on the table.

Unfortunately, the CEO’s trip was postponed. This happened again and again, but CEOCIO insisted on interviewing a C-level spokesperson. It seemed as if the interview was never going to happen.

But, “In PR, you never give up” – this is what my colleague Cheryl often tells me.

I didn’t give up, and (finally) I convinced the editor to talk with the company’s general manager instead.

The interview was very successful, and the editor decided to supplement the piece with a written interview with the CEO as well.

The rollercoaster experience of setting up my first media interview was trying at times, but reminded me of a few important things. First, that the more challenges you face, the more useful lessons you gain – the experience is always worth it.

 And, most importantly: “In PR, you never give up!”

 

You can check out the CEOCIO interview here:

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