Who are you?

By Matter

Whether it’s at a dinner party, on a plane or every time I make a trip home to my beloved home state of Florida and my [insert just about any family member here] asks for the ump-teenth time, the most common question I’m asked about my job is, “So, what is public relations? Really? What do you do?”

I usually give a standard response about the role of public relations within an organization and the services an agency provides its clients (along with an explanation of how public relations is different than advertising—somehow, this seems to be a confusing concept). But recently these questions have gotten me thinking more about who we are as public relations professionals.

Here’s what I’ve come up with: We are researchers, relationship builders, listeners, strategists, news connoisseurs, networkers, communicators, advisers and problem solvers.

Sometimes we are crisis managers, event planners and travelers. Occasionally we are printer technicians. Often we are writers. Pitch writers, speech writers, Web copy writers, tweet writers. We are reporters, as one colleague recently documented.

[I’m not done and already that’s a long list. No wonder our days are so busy!]

In the ever-changing digital age, we’ve become photographers, videographers, designers and social media mavens. Thanks to Matter Chatter, we’re even bloggers.

Always, we are students, forever learning about our clients, new media trends, best practices in PR and much more. Personally, one of my favorite things about working in PR is the chance to learn something new every day and to study under the tutelage of my savvy, dynamic and creative colleagues.

We are Jacks and Jills of many trades, us PR professionals. It’s part of our job description. We have to play many roles, to keep up with the times, provide our clients with the best services and results possible and advance our profession. I don’t think we’d want it any other way, though. Don’t we thrive on the challenge and variety of our jobs? I do.