I have been reading your blog from Indonesia since I first started college which is almost four years. Your blog was pretty much my guide to success to get through college. I just graduated from the University of Indonesia majoring in Public Relations. Luckily I already got a job as a Media Implementer at the biggest Digital Agency in Asia. But the media industry is a whole new career path for me and I still have a lot to learn about the industry.
While I’m happy with where I am today, I recently got a call from a company that offered me a PR job consisting of event organizing, presenting and all of those exciting PR duties. I’m torn between what to do because both of jobs have their own pros and cons.
My questions are, should I stay at the digital agency, learning and collecting knowledge about the media industry? Or should I go to this client company that offers me something that I am comfortable with? Should I stay at an agency or start my career on the client side?
I really need your opinion, thank you!
Cheers from Indonesia
First off, we love hearing from our readers across the globe and congratulations on getting a job straight out of college! It’s something that’s very difficult to do. My only advice in this situation would be to follow your heart. There’s no right or wrong decision. If you’re enjoying your job in the media industry, than stick with it. If it’s something that interests you and you could see yourself loving in the future, don’t worry about the PR job. There’s plenty of time for you to switch careers if you realize down the line you’re no longer interested in the media industry.
However, if you think that PR is what you’re destined to do, than take the PR job. You wouldn’t want this opportunity to slip away and regret it down the line when you no longer want the media agency job. To me, it sounds like you have your heart set on PR, so take the chance. Maybe you’ll come to realize that agency life is what you prefer, and you can always find a PR agency job in the future. Having experience on the PR client side is always a positive.
Hope this helps – and let us know what you decide!
Meet Anita Gatto, owner of New City PR, a PR company specializing in fashion, entertainment, lifestyle and personal brand building. Prior to starting New City PR, Anita worked in-house for some of the world’s most famous brands. In Canada, she worked for John Varvatos, Chip and Pepper, Victorinox Swiss Army and Tommy Hilfiger. In New York, she was Director of Communications for Robert Graham global head office. She studied Journalism in Canada at Sheridan College and her first job was writing for a newspaper in Toronto. New city PR invents experiences for brands that combine branded entertainment, strategic partnerships and “bottom line thinking” public relations. Here’s more of her story…
How did you get started in public relations?
While interviewing designing duo Chip and Pepper for one of Canada’s leading newspapers, they turned around and offered me a job to manage their PR in Canada with their distribution company. From there, more and more famous brands followed. I simply applied the ideas and stories I would want to be pitched as a journalist to what I was sending to press- no blasts, always researching their editorial calendars and it just felt right!
What is your average day like?
Being on the west coast and working with brands in New York or Europe, I usually start my day catching up to emails. I’ve tried to be better at waiting until I have a coffee before I respond. I try to make as many phone calls as possible, the art of picking up the phone has been lost and in PR so many emails get lost. If I have a good story to tell, press generally love to hear about it on the phone. I try to only send invites or meeting requests via email. Meetings with brand owners or new business clients are booked throughout the week, I like to make those meetings in the morning to be fresh thinking. My afternoons are writing, planning and reading emails mostly. Dinners are always a great way to bond with clients, I try and make them as much as I can.
What’s your favorite part of working in public relations?
My favorite moment that I still get a high from after 12 years, is the moment I have the “urge”. When an angle or fact is presented to me about my client and the right publication or show comes to mind and I just pick up the phone and pitch. No planning, no emails, no press release. It just comes to me and I go for it. 9 out of 10 times that has turned into a hit. The 1% was on vacation! There is nothing like the feeling of seeing my client’s story being told online or in print. I love that I was part of the process.
What’s the best PR advice you ever received?
James LaForce is huge mentor of mine, I respect what he has built at Laforce and Stevens, he also taught me how to value my work and not be afraid to bill for the time I put in for strategy and listening- it’s all part of building a brand story.
Any advice for those looking to get into PR?
Truly get to know the journalist’s style and story background. If they don’t seem to write about a particular angle you are working with, don’t send it to them. Be strategic and hands on, nothing gets done faster than a square peg in a square hole.
How is PR different in LA vs. NYC?
New York taught me how to hustle. Never stop paying attention to emails and turn emails around immediately. In LA, I have been exposed to more meetings and face time. So the combination has been excellent for me and my clients.
In a PR world that now relies heavily on only email, the importance of picking up the phone is greater than ever. Many new PR professionals don’t feel comfortable picking up the phone to pitch a reporter, or even ask about a job interview.
I will never forget during my first internship, I had to pick up the phone and pitch reporters all day. From 9am to 5pm. In front of all of the employees. And provide a full pitching update at the end of the day. It was nerve-wracking and extremely pestering, but ever since I’ve felt extremely comfortable picking up the phone to talk to any reporter.
So many times we’re given a pitching assignment, blast out emails, and wait for responses. The most effective way to get instant feedback and a gut check on whether or not your pitch is even relevant, is simply to pick up the phone. Jot down the reporters number if they don’t pick up, and try calling again in a few hours. So many emails go unanswered. Even the short ones like, are you working on your holiday gift guide yet? Pick up the phone if you don’t get a response. You’ll be surprised how much more information you can dig out of a reporter when you get them on the phone. Plus it help you further your personal relationship. You become more than an email address.