By Heather Baker, @TopLineFounder
It takes a special kind of person to be successful in business-to-business (B2B) public relations. They need to be ambitious, excited at the prospect of understanding how companies operate, detail-oriented, creative and (in agencies at least) highly organised and efficient.
And they are few and far between. I have my own theory on why this is the case. And that is that as an industry (speaking B2B PR specifically here), we have done a poor job at raising our own profile. When people think of PR, B2C (business-to-consumer) gets all the glory, thanks to brands with famous PR stories such as Coca Cola, Apple, The Body Shop and The Sex Pistols. The result is that when people are making their career choices, the ones that consider PR tend to be attracted by the perceived glamour and the excitement of working with the celebs and brands that everyone is talking about. B2B PR doesn’t even make the long list, because most people don’t know it exists, and even if they did, the type of person who gets excited by the prospect of a career in consumer PR simply wouldn’t be interested.
At TopLine, we used to hire good grads who were interested in consumer PR in the hopes that once they had spent some time working on B2B campaigns they would decide that it was the career for them. Sadly, this seldom happened. Instead, these grads would spend a year with us, gain the excellent PR grounding that our agency offers (if I do say so myself!), and use that to find a consumer role.
I used to find this exasperating, until it dawned on me that I was simply hiring the wrong type of person and that someone whose ideal job is to manage Cheryl Cole’s diary and prep her for interviews with Grazia is never going to be excited by software, financial management or changes to visa legislation.
Instead, I needed to start looking for candidates who could truly be smashing at B2B PR, and who would find it as interesting, challenging and stimulating a career choice as I do.
So, if you are trying to establish whether B2B PR offers the right career for you, then maybe this post can help - if the following piques your interest, then the answer is probably yes:
In conclusion, B2B PR is not for everyone and the people who tend to excel at it are those that actively choose it as a career – not those that fall into it as a way of getting a foot in the industry door. However, for those that choose it and work hard at it, it can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice – if you think you’re up to it, get in touch as I’m always looking for good CVs.
The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog is managed by SaaS marketing expert Heather Baker, founder of B2B PR consultancy TopLine Communications, and editor of the B2B Guide to Social Media and takes contribution from anyone sensible in the industry with something intelligent to say. Follow Heather on Twitter @TopLineFounder or contact her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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