By: Morgan Shaffer (@morganshafferr)

​On Wednesday evening, PRSSA was visited by the one and only Kim Bode of 8THIRTYFOUR Integrated Communications. Kim’s enthusiasm for PR was palpable and her humor, laughter, and wisdom filled the room as she spoke about the hardest parts of PR. Kim is the owner and founder of 8THIRTYFOUR, which is a unique PR agency. 8THIRTYFOUR is an integrated communication agency, meaning that all aspects of the PR campaign are done under one roof. You might remember fun events in GR such as “Light Up the Night” and the “Boy’s and Girl’s Club Great Tailgate” which were run by 8THIRTYFOUR. As Kim mentioned, if you think PR is a life like Olivia Pope’s, you’re wrong. In case you missed out on Kim here are the highlights of working in PR (and why it’s totally worth it):

Perception.

A lot of PR work is done behind the scenes, meaning that most of the time you will not get recognition for your work. People will only see the surface of your project and will not even think of all the effort that was put into it. Kim’s advice is to remember that every project has many layers.

Reality check.

Here’s the truth: PR is non-stop communication, hard work, long hours, and no days off. You always have to standby in case of a crisis or a social media trend. If you don’t have access to the world then you will not be able to manage or push your message. When you take on a client, you become the spokesperson for their brand so be sure to stay connected to them and their trends. The coordination and logistics are important. Without them, your event or project can fall apart.

All the People.

PR is a people business, knowing how to manage people is how you can ensure success for your client. People may not want to be involved in your project but they will want to have input, so learn how to be positive and work with multiple ideas. When you’re reaching out to the media, make sure your messages are individually tailored to each journalist. Ensure that you appeal to their brand and content. When working with VIP clients, it is important to make them feel VIP, so pull out all the stops.

Worth It?

YES! Kim shared her dad’s story of struggling to love his job. Kim shared her perspective on this too, “You spend the majority of your life at your job,” she said, “So you have to love what you do.”

​Kim is so proud of what she does and what she creates, she loves proving herself every day, and she loves working with the organizations she supports. Hearing from Kim and learning about all the things that are not taught in the classroom proved to me that PR is the right career for me.

Morgan Shaffer is a junior at Grand Valley majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Advertising and Public Relations. She currently interns for i understand, a local nonprofit that promotes mental health. Morgan is a passionate mental health and women’s rights advocate. She hopes to find a career working on an ethics consulting team in the near future.