When I was interviewed for one of my first jobs as a communications associate at a Maryland-based PR firm, I found it odd that the interview panel was filled with all women. And upon landing the job, I discovered that the small firm of approximately 100 workers employed roughly 30 men with only one working in the PR division.
But for more proof that women are dominating the PR industry, all that you have to do is go to a major brand’s website and look up the public relations director or specialist, chances are you will find a woman listed. And when you see a spokesperson for a company being interviewed by a reporter on TV, it’s usually the same gender. So why does the PR industry attract so many women? I decided to do a little research on the topic and what I found was interesting.
The Glitz and Grime of PR
Throughout my 10-year career working in both the public and private sectors, most of my bosses, co-workers or the people that I managed were women. Today, as the owner of a Baltimore/District of Columbia-based PR firm and a media trainer, I am often hired to train spokespeople to become better communicators. And my clients are typically women.
Needless to say, I always wondered why I found myself surrounded by other women. That’s not to say that I am not all for “sisterhood” and women climbing the ranks of any industry. I am also a very strong advocate for diversity and the various points of view and great ideas that comes when a company actively recruits and maintains a diverse workforce. However, I have always been a little curious: why are so many women choosing to enter the PR arena?
According to a new study, over 80 percent of the PR industry is dominated by women. When it comes to the industry’s largest professional association and the study’s authors, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), over 70 percent or 21,000 members also are women. Well I have been a member of PRSA since I started my first PR job.
In college, however, I was determined to become a hard-news reporter who would one day change the world. So I majored in journalism, wrote for the school newspaper and completed a few internships at local newspapers. After college, I even landed a job at one. But a few years later, I had decided to step over enemy lines after becoming increasingly bored with covering yet another grand-opening for a new grocery store or bakery. And I thought that PR would be more exciting. According to Olga Khazan, a staff writer for The Atlantic, who interviewed a few PR specialists, there are a lot of women in the industry who share the same sediment.
“I think a lot of younger women go into PR because they think they’re going to be the glamorous Samantha Jones from Sex and the City where you’re opening up restaurants and promoting hot new clubs,” Shannon Stubo, vice president of corporate communications at LinkedIn, told Khazan.
Throughout my career, I have found that the profession does offer a lot of glitzy moments. But depending on the firm or company; and whether it’s the private or public sector, I must admit that I have found myself often immersed in a little grime too. Brenda Wrigley, chair of the PR department at Syracuse University, told MediaBistro.com that she believes that more women hold PR jobs because “… skills like writing, presentation, and event planning are right up their alley”.
On the other hand, Arik Hanson, the principal of ACH Communications, offered a variety of interesting hypotheses about why there are more women and very little men working in the PR industry, including the higher salaries offered in other male-dominated professions. Hanson’s theory encouraged me, for obvious reasons, to investigate further.
Women vs. Men in PR
The idea that men still earn more money than women in a field that women dominate left my feathers a little ruffled. So I did a little more research and found: public relations specialists earned a median wage of $54, 170 annually in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For entry-level women, says the BLS, it goes up slightly to an average of $55,000, while their male counterparts earned over $20,000 more.
The overall starting salary for a PR specialist with one to five years of experience working in the public sector earned anywhere from over $35,000 to $60,000; and those with more than five years of experience can expect a starting salary of between $59, 000 and $82, 000, says Robert Half International, a global staffing firm. However, the vice president of a PR firm can earn $110,000 to over $185,000 annually with 80 percent of men holding these top positions. Needless to say, I was extremely bothered by these statistics.
Men Typically Avoid PR
Addition theories that Hanson discussed included how the media stereotypes women in PR industry; and the fact that men, especially journalists, simply can’t wrap their hands around what the field entails. However, the most thought-provoking one was his final theory: that it’s a “generational issue”.
“Sons grow up watching their fathers,” said Hanson. “Many fathers work in industries like finance, engineering, construction and the like.”
In other words, men tend to become more like their fathers than their mothers who typically work in the PR industry. This theory does ring true. However, PR jobs are poised for signification growth—by over 10 percent annually, while the journalism industry continues to dwindle. And “PR people now outnumber journalists three to one,” says Khazan. As a result, I think that many women in the PR industry will start to see their daughters and sons following in their footsteps instead of the father’s.
As for me, I don’t have any regrets about my decision to move from a short stint in journalism to a long-lasting career in PR. Besides, I have enjoyed and learned so much, over the years, from working with a bunch of creative and very talented women.
According to Marketingterms.com, a “call to action” is the part of a marketing message that attempts to persuade a person to perform a desired action. In addition, it persuades a visitor to perform a certain undertaking immediately. The most common calls are “Buy Now!” and “Register Today!” says Marketingterms.com.
In other words, the goal of a call to action is to generate “buzz” and rally your troops or target audiences to respond immediately. When it comes to PR professionals, a call to action is the Holy Grail in terms of developing an effective awareness campaign and generating substantial stakeholder and media interest.
“That kind of exposure is bound to prompt at least a few customers and/or prospects to check out, say, your website or Facebook page and, ideally, purchase your products and services,” says Matthew Schwartz, a PRNews’ contributor. “But generating that kind of earned media isn’t always a given, and PR pros are on the hook to find other ways to get fannies in the proverbial seats.”
Schwartz used the following infographic by Uberflip, a content marketing firm, to illustrate how PR professionals use a call to action and which ones are more commonly practiced:
Are you still struggling with finding innovative ways to get noticed and be heard on social media? After all, even the most established brands find themselves in a constant virtual battle to cut through the clutter and noise to remain relevant. According to Exact Target’s 2014 State of Marketing Report, more brands are including the “fine art of listening” in their social media strategies.
The report, which analyzes marketers’ responses to a variety of questions about their future strategies and how they’re gauging their success, found 60 percent of marketers were using social listening strategies in 2013 and 24 percent plan to do so in 2014. The sad news is that only 31 percent of marketers think their social listening is fully effective. The key to effective social listening strategies, however, is to go beyond your Hootsuite account. It’s all about hearing what your various publics (customers, business partners, constituencies, employees, etc.) have to say and collaborating internally and externally to meet their expectations.
So who should be actively listening? According to the report, social media teams are becoming more common, with 57 percent of respondents having a dedicated team to strategize, execute and steward social media initiatives, including using social listening strategies. Over 45 percent of survey respondents said their social media team size was one person, compared with 40 percent whose team size was 2-3 people. Over five percent had a social team with 4-5 people, and just 8 percent had a team of 5 or more. On smaller social teams and bigger teams alike, efficiency is crucial.
That is to say that it’s no longer good enough to have the office intern dub as the social media specialist. Making the investment in hiring a team dedicated to increasing your brand’s presence on social media now will reap social marketing success later. Typically, your social media “dream team” should be composed of at least three people or fewer. Once you set up your dream team and develop your social marketing strategy, remember to include a section on content marketing which has become “the king” of reaching your target audience.
According to Harsh Ajmera, owner of Digital Insights, you need to follow the 80-20 rule; 80 percent efforts in content marketing and 20 percent in duration. In addition, you should never consider social media marketing trends without evaluating broader trends in digital marketing and content marketing in particular. Content marketing fuels success in social media marketing and is crucial to many other digital marketing techniques like SEO, SEM, E-mail marketing, and CRO.
For more social media trends that will ensure your brands’ success in 2014, check out the following infographic by talkwalker:
Although you are still very young, you have already captured the hearts of the entire world. Admittedly, after 25 years, we have all become addicted to your creative energy, flashy colors and vibrant sounds. And you have given us the gift of communication that has enabled us to connect, at the speed of light, with everyone from friends to former colleagues. Because of you, today we can bond with complete strangers from the other side of world over issues we ALL have in common.
In order to mark your 25th birthday, the Pew Research Center has released a new survey that provides an overview of your growth and impact:
- 87 percent of American adults now use the internet, with near-saturation usage among those living in households earning $75,000 or more (99 percent), young adults ages 18-29 (97 percent), and those with college degrees (97 percent).
- 68 percent of adults connect to the internet with mobile devices like smartphones or tablet computers.
- 90 percent of internet users say the internet has been a good thing for them personally and only 6 percent say it has been a bad thing, while 3 percent volunteer that it has been some of both.
- 76 percent of internet users say the internet has been a good thing for society, while 15 percent say it has been a bad thing and 8 percent say it has been equally good and bad.
The survey— based on data from telephone interviews conducted from January 2014 among a sample of 1,006 adults ages 18 and older— also shows how you have become an indispensable part of our everyday lives. Over 50 percent of internet users say the internet would be, at minimum, “very hard” to give up, compared with 38 percent in 2006. Among those internet users who said it would be very hard to let you go, 61 percent said being online was essential for work or other reasons.
From the marketing executive who uses you to gather customer information to the student who uses you to conduct research for a school paper and the college grad who uses you to search for a job, you have become the go-to source for information. Today, you are a matchmaker, phone book, shopping network, data storage and management service, and a social hub. Most people believe that you are responsible for their relationships with family and friends.
According to the Pew Research Center, 67 percent of internet users say their online communication with family and friends has generally strengthened those relationships. For proof of your ability to keep families together, just ask the grandparents who now have Facebook pages. They have discovered, as awkward as it might be, that you provide them with a way to be “cool” while keeping track of their grandkids. This also holds true people who use you to connect with other long-distance family members.
The bottom line is that you have become a global village of immediate information. And you have given us freedom and a voice with our very own forum that we can use anyway we see fit. For that, we thank you!
Now that you have officially joined “the rat race” to capture your share of the 72 percent of American adults’—using social media— attention, have you identified your metrics? Are you meeting your ROI expectations?
After all, you developed a strategic plan, joined a few social media networks, hired a social media specialist, and established a substantial fan base. And you are using services like Google Analytics and YouTube insights to measure the efficacy of your online presence.
What else can you do?
One suggestion is to check out your competitors’ social media presence and ask yourself the following questions:
- What strategies are they using to recruit loyal brand promoters? i.e., promotional contest, coupons, etc.
- How are they converting visitors into customers?
Good day youth marketers! Just in case you missed my last post “Teens leap to Mars, while adults remain on Earth”, I decided to do a quick recap for you.
This time, however, I decided to add some statistics that offer further insight into our fickle little bunch or what many marketers are referring too as the most skeptical and hard to reach generation than any other before them.
The following stats—assembled by Digiday—are just another attempt to solve a puzzle that’s bewildering many marketers: how do you capture and hold the attention of Generation Y, or the millennials?
- There are about 79 million millennials in the U.S., versus the 48 million Generation Xers (born between 1965 and 1980). (ComScore)
- Millennials will make up 50 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2030. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- 27 percent of millennials are self-employed. (The Millennial Generation Research Review)
- 80 percent of millennials sleep with their phones next to their beds. (The Millennial Generation Research Review)
- Millennials send about 20 texts per day. (Pew Social Trends)
- The purchasing power of millennials is estimated to be $170 billion per year. (ComScore)
- 56 percent of millennials think technology helps people use their time more efficiently. (Pew Social Trends)
- 14 percent of millennials use Twitter. (Pew Social Trends)
- 31 percent of millennials said they earn enough money to lead the kind of life they want, versus 46 percent of Gen Xers. (Pew Social Trends)
- 41 percent of millennials have no landline at home and rely on their cellphones for communication. (Pew Social Trends)