That should be an easy question to answer. For me, it’s like peeling back an onion. There are layers of subtleties and paper thin nuances. (Although usually no tears).
You could see my byline and identify my work nearly every day. There were books, movies and TV shows about journalists.
Today, I’m a PR practitioner, a communications specialist and an account supervisor. I’m in PR, in marketing and often in advertising. To add to the complexity, Jackson Spalding doesn’t use titles so I don’t have one of those.
I haven’t seen any popular books, movies or TV shows about corporate communications specialists. My work is done behind the scenes and with no byline.
This is thoroughly confusing to my mom who has given up trying to understand what I do. I can only imagine what she tells her friends in Alabama.
I’m not sure that this complexity is felt to the same degree by my peers and colleagues but most of them were not identified so completely with another profession for 15 years.
So, what do I do?
In short, I listen, learn, plan and act.
I help companies communicate when they have something important to say and serve as a watchdog for their reputation. At times, I’m looking a year ahead, building budgets and plans. Often I’m looking hours ahead drafting a statement for the 5 o’clock news.
I draft press releases, pitch reporters and monitor the news. I brainstorm themes and write annual reports. I build PowerPoints and write speeches. I research and measure results. I introduce people to one another and build my own network. I actively engage in social media and help my clients do the same.
See what I mean? Which layer do you want to talk about today?
While none of this is easy to explain to Mom, it is a vital part of today’s business environment. Companies large and small must effectively communicate to employees, stakeholders and customers. They must know where to spend their limited time and money to receive the biggest returns.
And that is what I do.