December 3, 2015

Thought Leading Thursday: What Do You Do?

By: Courtney Rose

The famous question—it’s the ultimate classic conversation starter. It’s the question that will break the ice at any networking event, and start an interesting talk with a relative or an old college friend. As a public relations professional, this question is not always the easiest to answer—because a lot of people don’t really know what we do (and while we’re excellent at elevator pitches, it’s hard to sum it up in one sentence)

As many times as I try to explain it to my family and friends, I still don’t think they all totally grasp what I do. This is a typical struggle for us publicists out there because we want our loved ones and the general public to understand how impactful and important our jobs really are. After all, that impact in itself is the very reason we have chosen this career path.

While I have been working in the public relations industry, here’s what I’ve found out about what people think I do:

  1. I publish books. (No, being a publisher and a publicist are two very different things.)
  2. I am in advertising. (No, our client doesn’t pay for their magazine, newspaper placements or TV spots.)
  3. I’m a reporter or one of those people that’s always on TV. (No, I’m actually never on TV, I’m just the one that coordinates the segment and stands behind the camera to ensure everything goes swimmingly.)
  4. I am a social butterfly—I am always posting photos of my colleagues and I at really cool events on social media. (This might be true, but trust me—it’s a work-hard-play-hard mentality—you won’t be seeing any photos of me sitting at my computer for hours at a time pitching my heart away, but that’s actually what I mostly do).

The truth:

As a publicist we do a lot—we are researchers, creative writers, story tellers, strategic planners, big picture thinkers, relationship experts—the list goes on. Public relations is not advertising, we don’t do media buys and we don’t buy impressions. We don’t guarantee placement until we see it in print, online or are standing with our client at a TV interview. But what we can guarantee is the coverage that we secure at Olive PR Solutions will make much more of a genuine impact than any paid placement.


Because it’s not our client’s business, product or service that is sharing their own story—it’s a very credible third party, which equals public validation. It’s Women’s Health, Mashable, BuzzFeed, the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets that are talking about them—and it’s our job to make that happen.

So, you’re probably wondering what I actually say when people ask, “What do you do?”

I make an impact on people’s businesses by helping them get seen by the public. I work hard to secure media coverage—TV spots and news features online and in print—for my clients by thinking of creative story ideas to highlight everything amazing that they are doing. I’m the middle man between them and the media. I share these stories with reporters, editors, producers and writers in hopes that they will cover it and share it with the public.

So no, you won’t see my name under the story headline or me standing next to my client on TV—but when that story hits that I’ve secured or I see my client on TV, I’ll know that I did my job and shined the spotlight on them. And in the end—that’s all that really matters.

If you could pick one media outlet to be featured on, which one would it be and why? Share with us!