Oftentimes, we lead two different lives – our professional life and our personal life. We usually focus on different activities in each life and do not find similarities in what we do in our free time with what we do at work. As both a PR specialist and a bride-to-be, however, I have started to find myself drawing parallels between my professional and personal life.
During the day, I manage my clients’ public relations campaigns – communicating with the media, drafting press releases, compiling media lists, etc. At night, I pour myself into my personal wedding fantasyland – pinning centerpieces, bridal gowns, and décor on my Pinterest board, and flipping through countless bridal magazines.
While these two areas may seem completely different, they are not, and I have had the luxury of using my public relations knowledge to focus on the important aspects of my wedding. Here’s how:
Research is the backbone.
When putting together a PR campaign for my clients, I always start with research. What is occurring in their particular industry? What are their competitors announcing? When are the key conferences that my client wants to attend? Compiling thorough research helps me understand the space my client is in, and in turn, helps me develop the best recommendations for them.
As a novice to the wedding planning process, I am starting at square one. I consistently conduct research on every aspect of what my day will entail. I visited 12 wedding venues (I am big on research) and follow multiple photographers, videographers, and stationary companies via social media. I consult the theknot.com and weddingwire.com for vendor reviews. I also look at past weddings that have used the photographer or florist I am interested in. I seek advice from married friends, too.
Similar to my work research, my wedding research is crucial to the process. When spending a great deal of money, it’s important to know what is available and how I can expect the final outcome to look. This brings me to my next point, the budget.
Budget guides decision-making.
A budget is something everyone lives by. For a PR strategy, budget is a top focus when devising a plan. If I center my client’s entire strategy around an international tradeshow without checking if this is something they are able to fit into their budget, I would be asking for trouble. Looking out for my client is part of my job and if I start making costly recommendations, my client may think I am just here to spend their money. We must always focus on the ROI (return on investment) when developing a plan.
The same is definitely true when planning a wedding. It would be beautiful to have crystal candleholders on every table with gold plated chargers and a fireworks display at the end of the night. However, that is not always practical, and more than likely does not fit into my budget. Through this wedding planning process I have learned the importance of sticking to a budget. Otherwise, I could end up with the prettiest flowers, but nowhere to place them.
Thus, a budget is in place to guide you when making decisions – both for communications plans and wedding plans.
Without effective communication, you have nothing.
As a professional communicator, I wholeheartedly believe in the power of successful communications. When writing a press release for a client or pitching the media, it is imperative to communicate clearly. For example, when sharing the details of a new product, you must have all of the product specs correct. Otherwise, wrong information can be printed and your client will be very unhappy.
In terms of wedding planning, what happens if you do not give your guests the correct time to be at the ceremony? You end up with a very small wedding ceremony. Being an over-communicator at heart, I like to utilize social media for both work and play. I keep in touch with media via LinkedIn and I am in the process of developing my wedding website, with a matching corresponding hashtag of course.
I know through my continuous communication, I will keep my guests aware of wedding activities and I will keep my clients’ key media targets abreast of all news.
Do you see any similarities in your work and personal lives? I’d love to hear about them!