[By Joel McCarthy)
Public relations can be a unique and challenging industry, especially if you happen to be a dude. That isn’t to say that men are at a disadvantage, but it’s an important distinction to think about when entering the industry. Statistics vary, but the general consensus is that if you’re a man working in PR, chances are you’re going to have several female coworkers.
To some guys, entering a female-focused industry might be a bit daunting, but it shouldn’t be. Men and women may have their differences, but we’re equals at heart. Your success as a male in PR might even depend on how you make the most of those differences. Perspective can be a useful tool, if you sell it properly.
Diversity can be a real asset to a communications team. Being the only male at a PR agency would have its advantages, especially if your primary audiences happen to include men. Doug Levy, a former chief communications officer at Columbia University, considers diversity to be an essential component of any team, especially at agencies.
“We cannot be a good PR consultant if our team cannot reflect the community we serve, so PR needs to be diverse,” said Levy in a recent article posted by Digiday.
That isn’t to say every job in PR is right for a man. Some PR agencies might be targeting very specific audiences that simply don’t apply to men. Say a particular agency is trying to engage an audience of newly pregnant women. Your experiences as a man might not be considered an asset to the kinds of communications they’re trying to develop. This isn’t discrimination, it’s just logical. Men should strive for positions where their male perspective might have something to offer.
Overall, it’s important to remember to not get caught up on gender. This industry isn’t about femininity or masculinity. It’s about creating and maintaining strong relationships with your target audiences. It’s about communicating messages, plain and simple.
If your communications are well-researched and properly align with the values of your organization, the receiver won’t care whether you sit or stand in the bathroom. Find your swagger, and you’ll find a place in the industry.
In the immortal words of Atlanta’s Young Thug, “When it comes to swag, there’s no gender involved.”
(Photo by Joel McCarthy)