Building a career in Public Relations

So, you have completed your graduation and landed a job in your dream PR firm? Good. Now is the time to prove yourself. Get, set and go! 

Cut to one year. Cut to two years. Cut to three years. You are now no more considered as a fresher in the PR business. There are youngsters working under you now. You now have the responsibility to manage your own team. In the last three years, perhaps you have worked your ass off! You have garnered “coverage” for your clients- in The Times of India, The Economic Times, CNBC TV 18, etc.  Awesome!

But you feel stuck. You are doing the same old monotonous work everyday. You are creating strategies  plans and reports for your clients. You are writing pitch notes and calling the same set of journalists, perhaps being bashed by them anonymously on social networking sites. 

Well! This happens to most of us. Most of us often land these jobs, being the brightest students of our respective academies. Well to be honest, most of us are stars in our own little sense. However, why do we have often end up in the situation mentioned above? Because we get stuck in our daily ‘jobs.’ We forget, that we are here to build careers and not do our ‘jobs.’

So here’s what it takes to build a great ‘career’ in the business of communication:

  1. Do your homework: Yes, no wonder, whatever you do, no use if your basics are not right in the place. Know your media, know your client, know your profession, know your business, assess and build on your own strengths and weaknesses. Set your goals and objectives. Make yourself a short-term and long- term plan and then walk towards achieving it.
  2. Technology to enable you!: If you want to achieve success, then you must be ready to do whatever it takes to. Thanks to advent of social media and new technologies, we can easily connect with people and situations. You might not realize, but there is real power in having smart-phones and accessing the world through apps. Not that I am propagating materialism, but I just realized small changes these things bring to our life, when a friend recently casually remarked that smart-phone has changed his reading and content consumption habits drastically impacting his knowledge and skills.
  3. Networking: One of the most ignored things by people is the power of networking! It is good to keep doing your work and get appreciation by clients, colleagues and bosses! However, a career is not carved out steady growth but by break-out opportunities. Therefore it is crucial that professionals go out and attend seminars, business conferences, community cocktail parties etc. Networking is not necessarily about getting new business leads or jobs! Sometimes, it is all about meeting the right people, at the right time and learning from their experiences and ideas.

Just a few simple steps can send your career up flying in the sky..

Do drop me a line, if there are any other tips that you think, helped you to build a great career in the field of ‘Public Relations.’  🙂



Is there any reason for startups to hire PR firms to help with their launch? Or is this needless cash burn?

Answer by Deepika Gumaste:

The answer to this question depends on three questions:

  1. What are you trying to achieve/What are your objectives?
  2. What are your budgets?
  3. What kind of resources you have access to?

Out of this the most important questions are- resources and budgets. For many companies, specifically start-ups, a whole lot of decisions depend on budgets and resources. Do you have the kind of people with specific skill sets and expertise to do PR activities for your start-up? If no, then it is recommended to outsource your activities to experts and knowledgeable people who are equipped to manage your company’s communications.

Also if your activities are on a small-scale, you might be able to manage with a small team of in-house consultants. However, if you are looking to scale-up a PR firm always helps.

Also, most of the times, it is possible that if you have in-house people, they might be obsessed with internal details and might not be able to judge situations and have insights. The in-house team might be more obsessed with the product/company/service rather than being focused on what the customer wants.

Therefore, a third-party perspective always help.

Hope this helps.

My $ 0.02


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What are the PR trends for 2013?

Answer by Deepika Gumaste:

PR trends? The way, the entire PR business functions will change. From my view, we should  not call it trends for PR. Let's call it trends for 'communications.' Increasingly in 2013, you will see the rise of PR as a integrated communication discipline. People will begin to view it more of as a larger pie in the 360 degree pie. Here are some changes that we might get to see:

  1. SEO & PR : Apart from that, we will also see more focus on technology. For example, SEO and the PR team will now work together to create the right online strategy. More technological tools like vine will see a widespread use among consultants to reach out to audiences.
  2. Digital PR: As more and more people turn to tablets, phablets and smart-devices, etc, you will see PR agencies shifting focus from just traditional media to online media as well.
  3. Media Relations: Media pitching through e-mail will become obsolete. The new-age PR consultant will now make pitches through apps like vine, social platforms like Twitter, blogs, Facebook, G-talk, etc
  4. PR Tools: We will see more and more PR consultants moving away from the plain boring press releases to social teasers, infographics, social media releases, enabling journalists to share consumption-ready data, changing the usual irksome relationship between PR firms and the media.

These are some of my initial thoughts. I will tabulate the list as and when more things come to my mind.

My $0.02


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Why is indian media(traditional & digital) giving unnecessary importance to snapdeal, flipkart & smile group founders?

Answer by Deepika Gumaste:

Ok, I have read the question and all the comments that have been made over here. First- it is very unnerving to see that you have assumed that since these start-ups have PR agencies, they have it easy. I am a PR consultant myself and having worked on start-ups myself, let me assure you that not every start-up gets the due coverage or attention from the media.

For you to understand why the Indian media is giving "unnecessary importance" to Snapdeal or Flipkart, you need to understand the way the media works. If you look at the stories that appear, you will realize that the companies are funded.

In a start-up's life there are stages- incubation, scaling up and at last they either go public or are sold out. For the media, there is a way of looking at it- 'What is the human element to it.' The human element can be of two ways-  Either there is a heroic story behind that start-up or the company is supported by money (loads or lack of it) that will impact people associated with it on a large scale.

While, it is true that the product itself is important to sustain- the media is also interested to know about the funding it receives, the kind of customer services they have, their revenues and margins, their profits and large popularity.

And yes, don't think- that the big daddies of the start-up always have it better. You should read the Forbes article that bashed out Flipkart left, right and center.

Can Flipkart Deliver?

There is a pattern as to how the media covers these companies. And yes, start-ups with venture capital backing will always be a big hit with the media. At the end of the day, where there is money, there is business 🙂

But this shouldn't deter you from talking about your start-up. Every company has a story to tell. May be your product is so strong that you don't need to talk about funding. May be your start-up is  a great workplace. So go and show it off. It takes great PR skills to figure out your company's story (with or without the funding) and get the media to talk about you.

My $0.02


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A day in a life of PR consultant

A recent study suggests that PR or ‘Public Relations’ is one of the most stressful and caffeinated job in the world. Off course, look at the things that a PR consultant has to undertake.

I have had many newbies, hoping to turn awesome consultants one day ask me this question- What does a  PR adviser do in a any given day. Most importantly, when I return home late, everyday, my mother throws a question at me.  ” What the hell, do you do everyday.”
So, I thought of writing this blog, talking about how any single given day looks for a PR consultant. Beginning every morning is the ritual of catching a local train to reach your office. If you are  a part of the metro community, you can’t avoid this journey. Once you have made this journey and you reach home, this is how your day will pan-out.

  1. Tracking: Yes, you have to track news and newspapers. You scan and skim all available newspapers. Of these, 5 will be business newspapers, 5 will be mainline newspapers and others will be some regional newspapers. Once you are done with these, co-ordinate with your TV news tracking vendor to check for any client/industry news that might have appeared on any business channels.
  2. DCR/Coverage Report: Once the ritual of tracking news is over, you should go and share the news wit your client. This report goes out through your e-mail boxes in a format specified by the client. Each client follows a different format!
  3. Media Lists: Once, you are done sharing the daily news update, you begin to worship your lord! Yes, the bread and butter of your life. You must create, filter, update your media lists. Each day, you’ll hear of journalists leaving their publications and joining other publications. You need to know of these ‘media movements.’
  4. Media Pitching: Once you have tracked your media properly and are aware of who writes on what, which journalist writes on what beat (sector), you’ll need to call the journalist and share information on your clients, explore story ideas, discuss industry trends.
  5. Reporting: It is fine to do your work. However, in PR it is equally essential to showcase your work to the client. A new PR consultant will have to work on daily, weekly and monthly reports showcasing the kind of opportunities created and leveraged for the clients.

Having said that, it is necessary to understand that every young PR consultant will ultimately climb the ladder. However, if you have observed, you’ll recognize that for a newbie, I really haven’t mentioned any consulting work. As a newbie, you are expected to execute the above said activities. Once, you have mastered your basics, time will be for full-time client servicing and consultancy.


What are we scared of??

I have always felt this. Why, do we keep saying and doing things that we regret later…?

Because we are scared! 

Why are we scared, when we were born to be different and do so many good things?

Because we get stuck with mediocrity. We get stuck with  what is safe and secure.

If we think of it, we are born free. We are supposed to be that way and then we are supposed to die free.

But we choose not to. We entangle ourselves with what is to be and what could be…

We forget our own dreams. We forget that being true to ourselves means, getting hurt in the process. Remember, burning hot coal gives us those precious diamonds.

But we meet people. And we get entangled in them. So much that we don’t want to lose them.

But we forget, you can’t lose, what you don’t have.

You can’t lose what you don’t own.

We are not born here to own anything. To hold anything.

We are here to experience love, sorrows, strength and weakness, health and sickness.

But we get entangled in the web of cowardice.

We are here to travel, make merry, drink bottles of wine and eat tons of cheese.

To pick strawberries, to sit in the shade of that huge tree. To drink water from running streams of river.

But we choose not to do that and be worried of what could be rather than thinking what we should be….

Am I wrong? Only time will tell.

Right now, my heart asks me… a question to which I am trying to find an answer to:

“What are we scared of?”








The world of stories

Yes, this blog post is dedicated to my blog. How lame! Right? No! I have been off the grid for some days now. I was thinking of what should I write on the blog, when suddenly, my eyes hit upon the name of my blog. Yes. And that’s how the idea came!

Why not write a blog on why I named my blog- “The world of stories.”  We all are human beings correct? I would beg to differ! We all are stories, is what I feel. Each one of you reading this blog, have your own stories and the you are the protagonist of your story.

All other people in it- your friends, sisters, cousins, mom, dad and all your extended family is the supporting cast of your story. You are the center of the story. You are the hero/heroine and all others are there to witness your story unfold- good or bad, happy or sad- doesn’t matter.

A story is never good or bad. It is just that. A story!

My fascination with stories has been since forever. While most consider it a valuable form of entertainment- for me, a story is one that  strikes a cord with one’s emotions. And the beauty of it is in the fact that not everyone would feel the same emotion.

Your story just like any other story would make some one happy, sad, angry. It could bore some people. Then again that is the beauty right. Not everyone likes the story. Some may not like it just for the fact that the protagonist did not behave in a way that people want him to. (Remember, even if it is your story and you are the protagonist, in a story, everyone wants to be a lead character and therefore, everyone wants the story to unfold as they want!)

Well the news is- It doesn’t unfold as everyone wants it to. It will also not unfold as you want it to.

If everything goes as you want it to.. be ensured that… it is going that way just because the story has to fulfill its own aim- “Teach you.”

And teach it will…. because learning is what makes us human…..

ImageNo wonder kids are usually always successful in what ever they do. That is because they believe in stories.. and that is what makes them human.

Have you forgotten to believe in stories??

P.S – Ducklings are someone’s kids. Kids are purest form of innocence. And they are always dancing, no matter what emotion they go through. So be a dancing duckling.