When you are part of a big, fat Cuban family—complete with tias, tia de tu tia, primo hermanos, and even el vesino that’s lived next to your abuela for years—the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year to update your extended family on your life happenings. The funny thing is these questions and topics can be so wild that you never really know what’s coming.

And nothing, I repeat NOTHING, is off limits. Here are a few commonly asked questions I’ve been asked in the past: “When are you going to get married?” and a personal favorite: “Have you gained weight or are you pregnant?”

Most of these questions can be easily answered with a light-hearted laugh and a “No, Tia, I’m just stress-eating a lot of croquetas.” But one conversation that almost never fails to stump them is talking about my work. It’s customary to see their eyes glaze over a bit while a polite smile plasters on their face as they listen supportively to something they really just don’t understand.

There are a lot of misconceptions about PR and the work we do. I once read that the public relations industry does a terrible job of public relations. People often don’t understand the distinctions between PR, Marketing and Advertising.

That’s why this holiday season, I decided to create a FAQs sheet to help the general public understand public relations, and to aid those in the industry who need to explain their jobs to their grandparents, the occasional stranger, and friends. Feel free to customize this with your name and headshot (you know, for that profesh look), print it out and take to your next family gathering! Your loving Tia will thank you with a big plate of food (and then judge you for eating it all).

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MY JOB

1. What do you DO EXACTLY?

  • I’m a communications counselor, a problem solver, a storyteller and a director of positive vibes. What I do involves getting the right message out for clients, whether that’s helping them sell their product/service or enhance their reputations. One of the main ways I do this is by working with the media. When you see an online article, newspaper article, magazine feature, TV segment that includes a client of mine, it is likely a result of me building a relationship with that journalist, and then pitching them my clients’ story.
  • I work for clients on a national and local level, conceptualizing and executing their marketing campaigns, creative strategies, influencer/celebrity partnerships, and more!
  • Recently, my focus has been on consumer, hospitality, lifestyle and travel clients.

2. How is public relations different than advertising?

  • There’s an old saying: “Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.”
  • Advertising is paid media, public relations is earned media.  This means we pitch reporters or editors to write a positive story about our clients.  This gives the story more credibility because it was written unbiasedly by a third party, rather than purchased.
  • As the advertising folks at rbb will tell you, “It’s not creative unless it sells!” Through insight, killer creative, strategic media buys and constant measurement, advertising is a great way to unlock a brands’ full potential and deliver bottom line results.

3. Does this include social media?

  • Yes! Social media can amplify PR efforts and support campaigns in an impactful way.
  • The Digital Park practice at my agency is dedicated to everything digital marketing including analyzing social media trends and creating successful, measurable strategies for digital/social campaigns.

4. That sounds like fun! Is your job fun?

  • Yes, I think it’s fun to be creative, smart, strategic and produce award-winning work. Plus, there are special perks that add to the experience, like getting to travel and staying at beautiful hotels.
  • But it is not all fun and games – there are highly stressful, time-sensitive moments in which you have to think on your feet and act fast.

5. Is that what you studied in college?

  1. Yes! I have a bachelor’s degree in communications.

6. What is your schedule? Why haven’t you called me?

  • I work full-time and it’s non-stop all day.
  • This is why I most likely haven’t called you! I am too busy obsessively checking my email all day and night to call you.

7. How do you get paid? And is it enough to survive your indulgent, millennial lifestyle?

  • Direct deposit. And yes, sometimes I buy avocado toast, so I think I’m doing fairly well.
  • As an integrated agency, we serve as a one-stop-shop for all needs including advertising, digital, marketing creative services and even crisis management. These services work through independent budgets and realistic fee arrangements.

8. Can you get me a discount on [insert random, ostentatious request here]?

  • I can’t even get myself a discount, so no.

9. My nieces’ boyfriends’ sister is looking for a job in PR. Can you hook her up?

  • rbb was ranked as the #1 PR agency by the South Florida Business Journal this year. We’re always looking to add the best talent to the rbb family. rbb provides its employees with opportunities like no other – you’re part of a dynamic team, the rewards are endless and we pride ourselves on our award-winning work. Check out our open positions and pitch us on why we should hire you!

10. Are you going to change careers once you have a family?

  • Absolutely not. I feel lucky to work at a good company that respects work/life balance.