My good friend Maria (@MsDriftedSW) suggested that I write this post, as we all know that a lot of beauty bloggers dream about careers in beauty PR. There seems to be an illusion that PR is aÂ glamorousÂ job, fair enough I might not be an expert, but from my experience this is so not true. So I’m going to ‘dispel some myths’ as @24HourPrettyPeople suggested.
I have worked with PRs and as a PR so I can give a view from both sides of the fence, of course, these are my opinions and thoughts so naturally not the be all and end all of working in PR. But, lots of people wanted to read my thoughts written down. So here are a few things that I think everyone thinking about a career in PR should think about before taking it further.
I also want to make it clear, that this is not a dig at people who do work in PR or people who want to, it’s an incredibly difficult job and I have a lot of respect for people who work in the industry, I just feel that there are lot of illusions about what the job is about. Maybe, this post will give you a new respect for those working in PR?
I’m going to lay it out with the general ideas that people have about PR, followed by my take on the reality of it all.
If I work for a Beauty PR I will get loads of free stuff!
Yes, there are some freebies knocking around, but I wouldn’t say it’s loads at all. You have to remember that all PRs are working to a budget and only have a set amount of samples that they can allocate. You might get some of these freebies, but chances are that you are more likely to need them for the press. Some brands will be nice enough to give you a freebie to try to improve your knowledge, but in my experience, it’s not part of the job.
I’ll get to mix with celebrities and top journalists, how cool is that?
Yes youÂ probablyÂ will, but it’s not asÂ glamorousÂ as it sounds. Chances are you are not important enough for that VIP to want to associate with you much. You will be giving them facts, freebies, drinks and snacks and then taking their rubbish and empty glasses from them the rest of the time. Fair enough, some people are lovely and kind to PRs, but most of the time, you are not important. It’s not about making friends or having fun, it’s about selling your brands toÂ influentialÂ people.
I will get to hear about new products before other people!
Yes this is awesome, however, unless you are lucky some of those new products are likely to be either incredibly crap or incredibly dull. If you are lucky you might to get to work with brands that you already love, but there is always going to be something that dull that you have to deal with. Plus, it’s not like you can do much with that info, there are often embargoes on new releases and confidentiality issues.
Oh yes, I get to talk about make up all day, it’s a dream come true!
Yes you will get to talk about make up all day and that will be fun for about a day. Once you have told twenty people back to back the exact same benefits and selling points of a product you will be pretty bored of it. Chances are you will be focused on one particular product/brand for a long period of time, so expect repetitive conversation and repetitive answers for a very long time. You are a sales person for that product, you have to spend the entire time being enthusiastic and knowledgeable about a product that you aren’t necessarily that interested in.
I’m going to be attending the glitzy,Â glamorousÂ events of the beauty industry.
Yes you will, after working a full day being run off your feet, you get to pop on your heels and spend all night being nice to people that you aren’t that interested in and who most likely aren’t interested in you either. You won’t get chance to eat or drink, because you are too busy networking and talking about your brands all night. You get home a past midnight, to do it all again the day after.
And, a few other stark realities…
- You won’t get paid a lot, considering how many hours you put in.
- You will spend a long time answering phone calls and emails.
- You are basically a press sales person for the brands, think call centre to the press.
- You will be working in a fast paced, high pressure industry with a very high staff turnaround.
- You will have to deal with tight budgets and deadlines.
- If you are starting out, you will most likely have to work for free as an intern.
- You will constantly be astounded by how demanding press and bloggers are for samples.
- You will be hounded by management and brands because you aren’t hitting targets.
- You are in competition with millions of brands for a very few press opportunities,Â expectÂ stress!
Like I say, these are just points from my experience and thoughts, there are good things about working in PR, but the point I’m trying to get across is that it is a mega difficult job, make sure you know the truth of the industry and that you are realistic with your expectations before you get too involved.
If you want to work in the beauty or fashion industry there are lots of other areas you can look into: community management, brand management, product development, product design, merchandising, buying, marketing…etc.
Do you work in PR? What are your thoughts?
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