I am often asked why I chose to change my major to public relations. To be honest, it pretty much chose me. Public relations takes someone who can handle fast-paced environments with a constant Internet connection and coffee readily available 24/7. I’ve learned that most public relations practitioners spend their days working long hours, strategizing on behalf of their clients and writing more than they breathe.
Before we get much further, it is important you know my story. I started my first internship at Delta Marketing Group the fall semester of my sophomore year at Champlain College. Prior to this internship, I was determined to work in the television industry. My internship at Delta doing social media completely changed my outlook on the kind of career I envisioned for myself. I discovered that I enjoyed using an inbound methodology by reaching out to clients rather than a traditional marketing approach. I found myself thinking like a public relations practitioner while monitoring their social media accounts. I was trying to figure out ways to gain organic traffic and leads without trying to sell something. Essentially, I was trying to create a real relationship between the company and their publics. After realizing my love for social media and building relations, it was a no brainer to make the switch.
Now that you know my story, do you think public relations could be the right major for you? Here are five reasons why I changed my major to public relations:
1. I love writing.
One of the first things we learn as public relations students is that this profession will require us to write every day for multiple purposes. Writing is something that I genuinely enjoy and played a major role in my decision to study public relations.
2. I over analyze a brand’s image.
Did it really take Red Lobster hours to respond to Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance? For real, who is even running Red Lobster’s social media accounts? This year’s Super Bowl performance was a great example of an opportunity for a brand to capitalize on a national mention. Red Lobster was featured in Beyonce’s new song that was debuted at the halftime show of the Super Bowl. Red Lobster took seven hours to respond to the reactions of fans across the country. Most people probably wouldn’t have seen this as a big deal, but I found myself thinking, how could Red Lobster have taken that long to respond to a huge unpaid mention?
3. Relationships are important to me.
Maintaining positive relationships is something that I value in my own life. At the core, public relations requires you to set up ongoing relationships with all kinds of people and businesses.
4. I am very organized.
I am a self-confessed type-A and have been known to create folders, tasks and written to-do lists since I was a small child. I am a person who loves being organized and I often create and follow a specific calendar for day to day activities. The public relations industry requires you to juggle many different tasks in a day therefore being organized is essential.
5. I am always on social media and love staying current with the news.
I am constantly tweeting my thoughts. I frequently check Facebook as if I haven’t refreshed my feed 20 seconds prior. I continuously scan Instagram to see if I have missed any photos. My passion for using my cellphone to check social media is something that was a defining factor in determining my major change. Utilizing social media on behalf of my clients will definitely come in handy in the public relations world.
These are five of the most important reasons why I changed my major to public relations. Why did you decide to study public relations?
Melinda Lathrop is a sophomore public relations major and law minor at Champlain College. She is the treasurer of the Champlain College Chapter of PRSSA. She is also a social media intern at Delta Marketing Group in South Burlington, Vt. You can connect with Melinda on Twitter/Instagram @Melinda_Lathrop or LinkedIn.