No matter which way you’re gathering with loved ones this holiday season and beyond, someone you care about from outside your bubble will surely ask, “What is it you do again?” 

For most people that question is easy to answer. But for those of us in public relations, or worse yet digital marketing, when someone unfamiliar with the industry asks, it's a commonly asked question that bedevils even the mightiest of PR pros. 

Don’t sweat it. I’m here to help.

In this post, I’ve provided a cheat sheet to help you explain public relations and digital marketing to someone who knows zero about these areas. Use it to whenever you need to explain your role to someone in a way they can understand, and with less frustration for both parties.

PR and digital marketing are a mystery to a lot of people. There are a lot of twists and turns to these roles. Simplify the concept for your loved ones and they’re sure to appreciate the full story.

Here’s your PR & Digital Marketing Explainer Cheat Sheet. Use any or all of these answers when they ask, “Remind me, what exactly do you do anyway?”

  1. I make sure it's easy for our customers to get information about what we sell on our website, so they can buy more from us. 
  2. I figure out which people visiting our website are most likely to buy from us, and hand off their contact info to our folks in the sales department.
  3. If our website goes down, we lose money. So I have all these alerts set up to make sure our site loads fast. If it doesn’t, I get it fixed.
  4. I research the words people search when they’re looking for things we sell and make sure we're using those same words online.
  5. I write persuasive web copy that uses rhymes, repetition, stories and metaphors to capture and keep people’s attention online.
  6. I write emails that get personalized and sent to thousands of people who have signed up to receive updates from our company.
  7. I write articles, produce webinars, record podcasts and make videos that people find when they search Google for answers to problems our company solves.
  8. Instead of writing about what everyone else is writing about, I write about ideas that are new so our brand is seen as a thought leader, instead of a thought repeater.
  9. I get people to follow our company on social media, so when people check us out they see a community who endorse our points of view.
  10. I build visibility and credibility for our company by getting reporters and people with a lot of followers on social media to say good things about us. 

If you’re on the client-side, now you have a better idea of what you should expect your public relations and digital marketing consultants to be doing for you.

And if you’re in public relations or digital marketing, now you have multiple ways to explain to your grandpa, clients and even your boss what exactly you do for a living – and let’s hope they remember for next time!

Digital marketing consultant Eric Schwartzman hosts the Earned Media Podcast, the B2B Lead Gen Podcast and is the author of The Secrets of Successful PR Campaigns, The Startup’s Guide to PR and What Does a Digital Marketer Do?

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