A new survey was released earlier this week saying that PR is the fifth most stressful career path, up from seventh in 2012.
To anyone remotely patched into the PR field, this is not exactly earth-shattering news and should be welcomed rather than frowned upon.
In the last several years the PR discipline has inexorably moved from the margins of marketing communications (producing written materials and cultivating relationships with editors and reporters) to just a concentric circle or two away from the core of corporate strategy and branding.
With the erosion in traditional media channels and the ongoing rise of social marketing—in which storytelling is paramount—PR has been elevated to a higher level on the organizational chart for both enterprise companies and SMBs.
As C-level execs put the squeeze on communications execs to better align their efforts with the top and bottom lines, PR pros no doubt are grappling with additional stress. But with the additional stress comes additional responsibilities—something that PR pros have been pining for since time immemorial.
But rather than channel Frank Costanza and practice the “Serenity Now” method of de-stressing, here a few things that PR pros can do to manage and/or alleviate the stress they incur:
- Know thy Numbers: For years, PR pros could get by without being very well versed in financing, statistics or anything having to do with numbers. No more. Communications execs need a better grip on how their companies make money and how all of the content they create is wedded to lead generation and lead nurturing.
- Get out of Your Comfort Zone: Years ago a grizzled PR pro told me that part of the problem with PR is that too many communications execs go into corporate meetings with the attitude of, ‘We’re the Good News People.’ In a globalized economy, that’s surely a recipe for added stress. PR folks need to tone down pollyanish behavior and practice a more cold-eyed approach to the challenges their companies face (e.g. getting the CEO to be more media savvy or being more sensitized to cultural differences regarding your product or services) before those challenges morph into problems.
- Don’t get Seduced by Social Media: For PR execs, it’s an occupational hazard likely to cause some stress: Keeping up with the Joneses, when it comes to using social channels. But not all social channels were created equal. Before you expend time, energy and budget on developing a social-media strategy, first conduct an audit of the target audience and what its threshold is for social media. Dealing with a client working in the entertainment or technology sectors might require the use of myriad social channels. Trying to reach a fellow who in the morning puts Fido in his pickup truck and drives to a construction site for ten hours of backbreaking labor may not require a Facebook page. When it comes to social channels, be discriminating.
Are we missing anything? Let us know what you’re thinking about reducing stress in the PR world.