Public relations is an industry that contains many different areas of expertise and creativity, though many people think it is only product announcements. A good understanding of social trends and the public interest in fads and other current issues, as well as how people would react to them, is necessary for a good public relations professional. Julie Blacklock talks about her career in public relations.
What does your current job entail?
“I formed Blacklock PR in January 2015 as a personal venture into the world of independent business services specifically within the field of public relations. I partner with Houston-area organizations in a variety of industries including energy, health care and nonprofit. My services span from copywriting and media relations to social media strategies and audience engagement techniques.”
What is your favorite part of your daily duties?
“Helping organizations see the power of social media is easily one of the best parts of my job. This is still a new and unknown space for some people. Both businesses and consumers hold so much power, and it requires organizations to authentically interact. It’s so rewarding to help someone see the true benefits and opportunities behind the façade of a Facebook page or Twitter profile. Social media has made it a two-way street. Businesses can no longer talk at the consumer; it’s an open dialogue.”
Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?
“Yes, the PR courses within the University of Houston’s Jack J. Valenti School of Communication are top-notch. Not only did I learn traditional PR strategies and theories, but many courses also allowed for hands-on experience in crisis training simulations, mock-media interviews, journalism workshops and internship opportunities.”
Have you participated in any form of continuing education?
“Yes, I love to attend public relations and marketing webinars, workshops and conferences. The local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America hosts an annual event called PR Day. This is definitely the most valuable conference for me because it allows participants to interact with industry thought leaders and explore PR trends and proven strategies.”
Do you have any advice for people wanting to pursue a similar career?
“You don’t have to wait to create the career you want – even as a millennial. Start working toward it now. If you’re a go-getter with an entrepreneurial mindset, a career as an independent PR professional is attainable. The most important lesson I’ve learned so far is that work-life integration must trump the desire for work-life balance.”
Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.