Are PR and Acting that different?

By Caragh Dougan, Junior Consultant

Like a lot of people, I lost my job due to COVID-19 and as disheartening as it was, it came as a blessing in disguise as it gave me time to review what I wanted to do with my life and what sort of a career I wanted to carve out for myself.

As I am sure you can imagine, trying to find a job during a global recession is hard at the best of times, so landing a role in a new industry with which I had little to no experience is a sure fire way to experience rejection, let me tell you. 

In my younger years, acting was everything to me and I even tried to make a career out of it when I finished my A-Levels so I have developed a pretty thick skin when it comes to rejection.

What it’s taught me is that if you want to make a breakthrough, you have to keep going – sooner or later someone will take a chance on you regardless of experience and I was fortunate enough to come across BF media where I have been starting to learn the ins and outs of broadcast specific news and communications.

I learned recently that one of the reasons I got an interview at the agency was because I was one of the few people that sent an original cover letter along with my CV to the email address provided in the job ad – so take note people, little details go a long way.

The funny thing is, even though I am just starting out on my PR career, I can already see a lot of similarities between actors and communications professionals. Stay with me on this and no I don’t mean they make stuff up!


Something that both actors and PR professionals pride themselves on is the fact that they are storytellers.  PR is all about earned media, recognition and reputation. In order to ‘sell’ to the public or publishers, you must be able to persuade people why they need a product, service or company and the extent to which that comes about depends on how well you tell a story. Making sure your content is relatable, clear and most importantly engaging makes people feel more connected to the information being relayed to them. With films and plays, if the story doesn’t hit the audience, doesn’t flow or is simply boring, the trust between audience and creators will be lost, leading to a flawed reputation. It’s the job of the actor and PR professionals to produce work that will keep people interested. 

What’s hot now?

Film and theatre producers are always trying to tap into what the latest trend is so they can create blockbuster scripts that resonate with a large audience and fill out cinemas (when the cinemas come back). When I was a jobbing actress I had a job working as a host at Drake and Morgan, I had to make ends meet somehow! When bottomless brunch first started becoming all the rage, I got the department heads together to design a new deal for customers which I would promote on our social media pages. And being able to react to what’s going on around you is also an important skill in Broadcast PR too. I’ve learned that most of the time, you need to make sure that your campaign is relevant to current trends or current circumstances. This gives broadcasters a better chance to add your story into their scheduling as it relates to what is already a part of public discourse. An example of this is the current pandemic, if you are trying to sell-in a story that has nothing to do with how COIVD-19 has impacted us as a society, then the media are less likely to engage so make sure this is one of the first things you think about. How does this story sit within the context of what’s going on around us right now.

Stick to the script 

Television and radio are all about conversations and keeping people tuned in, so your dialog or your story needs to be able to work as a two way street – if it does broadcasters are likely to book an interview with you. But, as I have learned, booking an interview is just half the battle. It’s the set design, the production, the script editing – but it’s still down to the actors to go out and deliver the lines and if your spokesperson isn’t prepared or focused there’s a good chance the important messages of your campaign won’t be relayed and there’s not a lot PR’s, script editors or directors can do about that once the act has taken place. Whether you are in a play or in theatre, you need to know your lines.

Noticing the similarities between my struggling career in the arts and broadcast PR have really helped me understand the power engaging and original content has on the consumer. Keeping people entertained or moved with a memorable broadcast campaign will increase word of mouth, reputation and fame. There is obviously more to it than the three points highlighted above, however, all must be considered if you wish your campaign to succeed in the world of broadcast PR.