If you work in public relations, you’ve probably become accustomed to most people either thinking you work in advertising or just having no sense at all of what you do for a living. As I sat in a room full of my colleagues discussing industry topics, one recurring theme was how little we believed our moms knew about our jobs. We all had a story to share about things our moms have said about our careers, my own being the time my mom asked if I “write notes and look stuff up all day.” If only our job was so simple!
Expecting many hilarious stories to emerge, I set out on a mission to uncover what moms of Coyners think we do. There were a few truly comical takeaways, including many moms who took the opportunity to say how proud they are of their child and how great we are at our jobs. A few also think our job is all fun and games, evidenced by responses ranging from “you play with toys” to “you get a lot of free stuff.” Some acknowledged how hard our jobs can be, one even saying, “sometimes you have to stand on your feet all day. Ouch!”
However, as it turned out the joke was really on me because as the results of our survey of Coyne moms poured in, one thing became abundantly clear – our moms are paying attention when we communicate with them. For me, it may have taken six years, but my mom has finally come from thinking I just spend my days writing emails and doing Google searches to understanding that I “promote clients’ products by getting it known to the public via different means.” She’s certainly more on track now, even if she did follow up the text with the shrugging emoji to demonstrate uncertainty.
Most of the responses I received proved that our moms are clued in to what we do, with most moms acknowledging at least one accurate aspect of our job, including:
- “You pitch your clients to newspapers and magazines to try and get them included in articles.”
- “PR is trying to get through to the consumer or audience about a product. You have to research and know the product and write about your client/product and be able to get it out to the world.”
- “You write creative ideas and put together plans for PR for your clients. You attend client events and plan the events.”
- “You set up appointments with editors for clients and plan events.”
- “I know you do a lot of research.”
- “You service clients and you’re a liaison between the company and the client.”
- “Well, I know it’s not advertising. You always tell me that!”
Another finding – nearly every respondent admitted they talk to their mom every day. I hadn’t expected to receive such surprising responses when we posed the question to moms, but in hindsight I realized that if we are communicating with our moms that often and they still don’t understand what we do for upwards of 40 hours a week, how good of communicators are we really? In the end, my study didn’t turn out as intended, but I realized that if we could summarize PR in just one word it’d be communication. If I learned one thing from what our moms said, it’s that we are indeed good communicators – which means our moms are totally right, we are really great at what we do!