Savannah, GA -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/24/2013 -- Confession: I have no formal training as a publicist. I have no degree in Communications, or Journalism, or Public Relations - and I have never claimed to! For me, PR was a job I fell into and in love with. It became a calling. And in my experience, while books and networking and workshops can be helpful, there’s nothing like being on the job for training. That, coupled with a solid broad-based liberal arts education that teaches you to think critically are the best “formal trainings” you can have to launch a career in PR.
Confession: I am a nerd and a book worm! PR is my calling and my career, and now that I’m on the job, and have been for 12 years, I do find myself reading as much as possible on the field of PR to deepen and broaden my expertise. I love to read anyway, I specialize in PR for books, and I love PR – so it makes sense that I do a lot of background reading, and self-edification.
The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations is standard reading in a college level course: PR: 101. And while it was inspiring, I don’t think that in college, I would have appreciated reading it the way I do now, as someone well invested in her career of choice. Bernays is popularly believed to be the “Father of Public Relations” – even touted as much in his obituary in The New York Times! He was a risk taker, an energetic entrepreneur and a pioneer in the field.
There is a lot of controversy about this title. Bernays was one to toot his own horn, take credit for his work (which publicists should do) and document just about everything in his career. However, there were many publicists and PR specialists that were his contemporaries. BUT it is also true that Bernays defined PR in a whole new way—he gave it a name. Prior to the 1920’s the term was “Press Agent.” Bernays saw his role as so much bigger—and had the ideas to back it up, so he deemed himself the first “Public Relations Counselor.”
No matter what the controversy in dates and who’s who, all PR pros can make their own mark. In many senses reading this book now has inspired me and reminded me of something I already knew: In many ways we must go back to our roots. YES—social media is bringing us in a different direction but some things remain constant: clients want accountability and big ideas executed now more than ever. And that accountability and execution of big ideas is precisely what Bernays stood for.
Bernays was known for creating an “overt act,” the first of the PR stunt categories in which the reporters could not see such an event as anything but newsworthy. He saw the potential in thinking of PR as a two-way street. Just as much as news of a company/organization/government needed to be put out there, he believed it was the Public Relations expert’s job to form public opinion and create trends. It’s no grand coincidence that the Father of PR was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. It is said that Bernays influence on American (and many cases international) society was equivalent of the influence that of Freud’s influence on the field of psychology. Think about that. There’s no one more associated with psychology than Sigmund Freud. Bernays revealed the origins of his learning by believing he could single handedly move the masses with “mass psychology,” much of which he learned from his Viennese uncle.
So we must all go back to these roots. We must be aware of what’s happening around us and how we can affect modern culture with the many tools we have. This was an era when publicists were friendly with reporters and not spamming them with unfounded information. We must substantiate things in fact.
Our dedication to our clients, above all else, must warrant the money they are investing in us. For someone to pay a publicist, and for the publicist to take it, implies a symbiotic relationship of “I believe in you.” Bernays had such intense energy, for all of his clients and work, that it was infectious. Publicists should model their behavior accordingly—we must gather our energy and harness it and utilize it to execute big ideas on behalf of and with, our clients. To move the public with “mass psychology”. Social media gives us immediacy and a chance to have a real conversation with those we are looking to influence and we should tap into that for all its worth. But the traditional pillars of PR and traditional PR are not dead – just enhanced.
I hope to inspire and be inspired. I hope to take advantage of all the lessons and expertise of both my “on the job” experience and my “book learning” to best conceptualize and execute the big ideas for my clients.
About the author: Rebecca Crowley
Rebecca Crowley is the Founder of RTC Publicity. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-777-6965 (office phone). RTC Publicity is active on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTCPublicity, linked-in (http://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccacrowley) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/rtc_publicity).
About RTC Publicity
RTC Publicity was founded in July 2004 by Rebecca Crowley. Rebecca’s vision was to offer a PR shop that was an ethical and affordable solution for small companies looking to elevate their profile and perfect their branding. Though Rebecca started her career at Penguin in book publicity, the early years at RTC were spent doing consumer and lifestyle PR, servicing fashion designers, the food services industry and internet start-ups.
In 2010, RTC was re-launched as a one-stop-book-marketing shop merging Rebecca’s love of books with mainstream marketing knowledge. Working with RTC is a unique experience. Clients often come out with more than they could have imagined. Rebecca’s visionary ability coupled with her analytical thinking leaves authors with marketing knowledge and resources they can use for their entire careers.
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