Last week I had a job interview for an Event Coordinator position. The interview went well, better than I actually thought, and I’m being brought in today for a second interview. Apparently, it’s down to me and one other person out of 200 applicants.
But there was one question that puzzled me a little bit during last week’s interview.
I was asked the following question:
“Does it bother you that this job isn’t a PR job per say?” I’m not sure if I remember the exact wording, but that’s the gist.
This is how I responded. Again, I’m not sure if this is the exact response I gave, but it comes close.
“I’m not sure what you mean. Everything about event coordinating IS PR.”
To be clear, there was no contempt in my tone, when I made the statement. I believed I smiled when I answered.
I think what the interviewer meant was that I wouldn’t be doing a lot of public writing, social media, or the so-called mainstream tasks that people expect from a public relations pro.
But, I stand by my answer. And here’s why event coordination is an important part of PR:
- Public Relations is all about creating a positive image for an organization, person, corporation or brand in the eyes of the public. Successfully planning and carrying out events is just as important in accomplishing that goal as writing a press release. In fact, without events, there’s not a lot to write about.
- Likewise, event coordination includes having a close working relationship with the communications/PR department. I can’t think of any time in which an event coordinator can successfully do their job without being in sync with the communications department. It’s a truly interdependent relationship.
- Events can often speak louder to the public than more traditional forms of PR. If the event is successful, then the public views the organization as favorable.
- Events give the public an opportunity to interact with you in ways that reading a press release or seeing an interview on television just can’t accomplish.
- Event coordination not only provides opportunities to reach target markets, but provides opportunities to present a positive image for the organization, corporation, person or brand to vendors, sponsors, volunteers and the press. These groups are important to present a positive image to, as well.
- Event coordination typically enlists more than one department or person. Press releases might deal with one area of the organization at a time, but event coordination requires that several, or all, departments come together to present a common message or image to the public.
These are just a few reasons event coordination is every bit a PR job as other, more commonly thought of PR jobs.
Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not knocking the more traditional tasks of PR. Every part of PR works together to be the bridge between the public and the organization, person, brand, corporation, etc. But event coordination is a huge part of PR, too, and not to be considered any less a part of PR.
If I get the position, I welcome the opportunity to develop good relationships with so many different people all at once on behalf of the organization: the entire staff, vendors, sponsors, volunteers, press, and the public.
And isn’t that what PR is all about?
Up for discussion:
- Have you ever had to plan an event as part of your PR duties? If yes, what PR tasks did you perform in that role?
- Most organizations don’t have a separate events coordinator and rely upon the communications/PR person or team to perform that role. Can you think of ways in which having a person dedicated solely to event coordination can be a benefit to the PR manager?
As usual, all respectful and constructive dialogue is welcome and necessary.