If you graduate high school and decide to go to college thereafter, there’s a lot of pressure on you to choose a major right away. “Major in a STEM field, you’ll make a lot of money!” some say. “Major in something that will get you a job, minor in something that you love,” say others. I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to these people, after all, you may be fascinated by engineering or biology and want to make a career out of it. More power to you if you do, but chances are you’re like I was. You have no idea what you want to do. If I could go back and talk to my 18-year-old self, I would tell him what I’m about to tell you, “here’s why you should major in PR.”
Public Relations changes with the times. Journalism still has its place in the world, but its dying. Brand journalism, on the other hand, is on the uptick as more brands see the value in storytelling, specifically digital storytelling. PR is much more than news releases and media kits these days. While they still can’t be ignored, there is much more emphasis on having an optimized, user-friendly website, using social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to reach audiences, and utilizing blogs and video content to tell stories. One of the biggest selling points for PR is the fact that it’s adaptable and constantly shifting to stay in the game.
A Broad Skillset
To accomplish all of the things I just mentioned, a PR student needs to know how to write content like blogs and eBooks, conduct research like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, use social media, use graphic design to create visuals, code websites, and more! Chances are you have one, or some of these skills already, and majoring in PR will help you add the rest, hone the ones you have, and apply them to a brand. With all of these skills, majoring in PR gives you a platform to work in a variety of industries including PR (obviously), marketing, journalism, graphic design, website production, coding and more.
It Exists in Every Industry
Every company is doing PR. Even your mom and pop drug store from your hometown is doing PR. I’m doing PR for my personal brand right now with this blog post. What I am trying to say is that you can pretty much work in any industry you want to with a degree in PR since, well, they all need it and practice it. Entertainment, sports, politics, healthcare, restaurants, theme parks, and anything else you can think of all have opportunities for PR practitioners.
You Can Add Your Voice to Your Work
While plenty of my friends have enjoyed majoring in accounting or finance, I venture to guess that they aren’t putting much of their personality on the 1040’s that they’ve been filling out at their internships. If they are, they probably won’t be in accounting for long. PR offers the chance to put your own voice into your work; to write, to tweet, to film whatever great idea that comes into your head, within reason, that relates to your brand. In the right role, with the right boss, you get to be “a dog off the leash” as I like to say. Free to run around and do things the way you want to, as long as you stick to your main goals.
This creative freedom is one of the biggest things that attracted me to PR in the first place. I started college as a history major because I liked to read and write. When I thought more long-term about my future career and life after Auburn, I realized that there wasn’t exactly a niche role for a Bachelor’s in history upon graduation. After some research into other majors at Auburn that had better career prospects, PR stuck out to me for all the reasons I’ve talked about. PR recognized the shift to digital, and later to social media, would teach a broad set of skills along the way, and would present a diverse pool of career opportunities. Not to mention, I could still do research and write like I wanted to. Once I decided to change my major to PR, I haven’t looked back. You won’t either.
Note: This blog post was written as part of an assignment for my PRCM 4500 course at Auburn University.
Graphic created using Canva.