How Social Media Made PR Fun Again

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Remember the first time you got an e-mail response from a reporter at The New York Times? Or the first time your phone rang and it was a producer wanting your client to appear on a show that week? It was the best feeling in the world. And as you matured and gained more experience, you eventually got responses from major news outlets on a frequent basis, and you were now expected to get these types of opportunities. But at some point that initial enthusiasm you once had began to slowly fade away, and you were searching for something new to help bring that excitement back into your work. Does any of this sound familiar? Because this is exactly what happened to me. It wasn’t until I became engaged in social media that things slowly started to turn around.

Ever since I began in PR in 2006, I always had a knack for getting media opportunities. I thought it was luck, and to some degree still do, but nonetheless whatever agency I worked at I was tagged as the media star. But the funny thing about it was that pitching was never my passion. Learning was. And no matter how much success I had at landing client placements, I felt unfulfilled, and knew that I was hardly the only publicist that could do this type of work. So I wanted to add a unique skill that would benefit myself, and my agency, in order to continue along the fast track. This is where social media came into play.

In the Spring of ’08, I started exploring social networks beyond Facebook and MySpace. At the urging of a friend (@C_Hayes), I joined Twitter and started reading as many books as I could on the PR landscape and new social media tools. Shortly thereafter, I started applying what I was learning to my everyday worklife. Whether in client brainstorms, on a weekly call, or during my agency’s internal meeting, I found myself bringing new ideas to the table. Sure, people knew about podcasts and blogging, but only on the surface. I was actually engaged on Twitter, reading about new trends in social media, and offering real counsel to clients. Being able to reverse-mentor veteran publicists gave me that adrenaline rush I had been missing.

Let me take a step back. You have to understand that I was working at very traditional PR agencies. Some would even call them ‘hit’ shops. But that didn’t take away from the fact that I was learning something new, building up my resume, and actually having fun again. Two years since becoming involed in social media, I created a PR networking group for Big East Conference alumni on LinkedIn, gave lectures to students at West Virginia University, I’m writing an industry blog, developing social media plans for clients, and I’m striving towards 1,000 followers on Twitter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’m the only publicist doing things such as this or that I’m going to be president of an agency tomorrow just because I’ve read books on social media. I’m just saying that PR doesn’t get much better than this.

Has anyone else experienced this same type of enthusastic rejuvenation? It’s a great feeling.


7 comments on “How Social Media Made PR Fun Again

  1. I haven’t hit this same type of rejuvenation yet, but I hope that someday my hard work will pay off in a similar way. I graduated from WVU a little over a year ago and feel that social media has given my peers and myself some leverage in terms of the job search and overall job performance. It’s great to see how this pays off in the PR world; we’re not just playing games and chatting it up with our friends on social networking sites, we’re planning for our futures. Can you suggest any books for further PR/social media reading? Thanks!

    • I have colleagues that joke around with me about my SM usage, but more than anything I think I’m seen as someone that’s knowledgeable and can help our clients, and senior-level management has taken notice. So hopefully it will pay off!

      Recommended readings: Groundswell, Made to Stick, and anything by Malcolm Gladwell (he gets you thinking)

  2. Everyone needs to find this spark and energy – or they are in the wrong job! Kudos to you for discovering it and sharing your experience with others. (gotta admit tho: big print hits still give me an adrenaline rush)

  3. I definitely agree with everything you are saying! I’m taking a multimedia storytelling class this semester and simply talking about the course makes me excited. I love it. I feel so energized when I learn of new ways to expand my PR horizon. Another example, joining Twitter! Social media is the way of the world. Using it in the right contexts can pan out to be extremely useful in the end. Not to mention, it’s fun!

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