• Yasmin Khostovan

How the pandemic seriously put PR in the picture

And helped my mum understand what I do

It’s a long-standing thing among my PR friends that our nearest and dearest just don’t have a clue what we do, really.

Whether it’s parents congratulating us on the ad they saw on TV (errr…), or friends swiftly messaging us after Ellie Goulding wins another Brit Award (because we worked with her on a campaign way back when). Let’s face it they’re just a bit clueless, but it’s not their fault of course.

PR has always been perceived as dark art. And from the bread and butter of media relations, digital and social amplification, content, supporting on above the line and below the line comms as well as everything in between – it can make even those that work in the industry’s head spin.

In my view, that was until the global pandemic propelled ‘Public Relations’, and more specifically media coverage, firmly into the nation’s consciousness. Now, friends and family will chat about the Government’s latest messaging, wait with bated breath for a comment from the Palace after that Meghan and Harry interview, and tune in to press conferences that (try and) dictate our every movement. PR has become mainstream.

And we’ve started to see coverage on these topics too, with stories that unpick the Covid messaging from the Government recently appearing on ITV.com, of all places. Not to mention the latest drama from the Dominic Cummings leak saga unfolding in the press daily. And coverage on coverage! Just last month Stylist did this piece that lists, blow by blow, the injustices Meghan Markle has faced from the British press. Even the recent coverage of the death of Prince Phillip sparked a record number of complaints to the BBC. Suddenly, everyone has something to say when it comes to the press.

So, what does this all mean for us PRs? Well, Mum is certainly starting to get what we do, which is always a plus. And friends and family now offer their ‘expert opinion’ on our clients and their comms strategies. Nod and smile, eh? But most importantly, there’s real potential for us to see a wave of smart, curious and media-savvy people who’ve had their eyes opened to what a great career PR can be, knocking on our doors. Come on in.