Public Relations Ranks High as Stressful Job

Turns out those of us who work in PR aren’t exaggerating when we say we’re stressed. According to Careers Cast, public relations officer is the second most stressful job.

Marilyn Saltzman, who retired as communications manager for Jefferson County Public Schools, Colorado’s largest school district, knows the stress of the job. She was one of the spokespersons during the Columbine tragedy.

PR ranks as the second most stressful job. (Photo by gotmyphilosophy)

She says PR is stressful because you have to expect the unexpected. “Your schedule can change in a moment’s notice, requiring flexibility and the ability to live with ambiguity. You may have 20 things on your to-do list, and everything goes out the window because of a media request, some type of crisis or an urgent assignment.”

Jon Newman of The Hodges Partnership says “the ultimate lack of control” makes PR stressful.

Karen Galanaugh, owner of Galanaugh & Company, says reputation management is a big stressor in PR. “It’s up to you to manage the public opinion meter, mitigate pain to the company and prevent loss of sales, membership, investors or voters,” she says. “You’ve got to get the facts, work fast, develop messages, clear it with the company attorneys, and use your PR training to communicate to all stakeholders.”

To minimize the stress, Marilyn says being prepared and proactive are key. “Know what the potential issues are and take action before they become crisis,” she says. “Make sure you have good internal sources of information, who respect you, ask for your advice, listen and give you what you need to do your job.”

Jon advises, “Each person also needs to find their ‘outlets’ or passions outside of the industry just like other folks do in other fields.” Baseball is one of Jon’s passions.

Karen says, “If you love your job it can seem less stressful.” Of course, if all else fails, she says of handling her stress, “I eat and don’t pick up after myself. It might work for others.”

The most stressful job is commercial pilot.

What’s Next in Social Media

Social media is about conversation not broadcasting.

It’s about geolocation.

It’s about privacy.

And online versus mobile.

It’s about measurement.

Those were the observations several months ago by Jon Newman of the Hodges Partnership as he talked about social media.

What’s he talking about today?

Growing communities, measuring success, multi channeling, mobile, the great platform shakeout.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that content remains king, and PR is the content driver. Without it, you aren’t going to be able to grow your communities online.

At the same time, social media is simply part of the conversation. “In a client meeting you expect to talk social media.”

When Jon asked at the January PRSA Richmond meeting how many people were actively using Twitter only about half the audience raised their hands. Less than a quarter were using geolocation sites, such as FourSquare. When asked about Facebook, every hand in the audience went up. 

“You can do everything on Facebook that you can do on a standalone website,” he noted.

Measuring Facebook success is about measure the fan base and fan engagement – what percent of the fan base is actively engaged? Are they posting a comment? Are they liking the status?

A successful social media strategy is about listening, customer service, advocacy and social commerce, said Sonali Shetty of Hodges Digital Strategies. The first step is establishing a community. Then, Sonali said, you have to cross promote, consistently brand and engage frequently.

And despite what some people say, “It does take money,” Sonali said. “It’s an ecosystem in which you surround your customers with your message.” 

To do that, you must develop a cohesive message and implement it across all devices. It’s about repurposing and recycling.

One of the hot topics was apps. Not surprising since the Apple store has sold its 10 billionth app. To have a successful app, Sonali said to prioritize the must-haves then add one or two bells or whistles. “You have to look for a reason for people to come back to your app every day,” she said.

Mobile will continue to get bigger. Overseas, people conduct most of their banking by cell phones. That hasn’t reached the United States at the same level yet. QR codes are growing in popularity. These codes allow individuals to use their smart phone as a scanner and obtain additional information about a product, brand or company. Some airlines make boarding passes available on mobile devices. Scan your smart phone and you’re boarding the plane. Starbucks lets you create a virtual card on a smart phone. Scan your phone and you’re walking out the door with your latte.

I wonder what we’ll be talking about a year from now….