Just down the road from Voxus’ headquarters in historic downtown Tacoma is the Museum of Glass, featuring the work of legendary local artists such as Dale Chihuly. The city is also home to the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio, where amateur glassblowers like me can (with no shortage of assistance) create their own fragile works of art.
Having experienced both worlds, I can say that glassblowing actually shares quite a few commonalities with public relations. How? Let me make my point as perfectly transparent as glass (PR pun).
For starters, the two skills require painstaking attention to detail and proper procedure. In both cases, an overlooked mistake or flawed process generally results in a defective finished product that fails to live up to its intentions.
Creativity is also an important attribute for both pastimes. Just think: glassblowing is all about taking an amorphous blob of malleable material and turning it into something recognizable and concrete. In PR, this is called content generation – taking random information and shaping it to give it form, meaning and perspective.
Collaboration is also key. Sure, glassblowing can be performed solo, but the process is made easier with teamwork, as it requires quite a bit of multitasking (rotating the blowpipe while simultaneously shaping the glass, for example). The same concept applies to publicity campaigns: delegating responsibilities to others is not a sign of weakness, but rather a means of achieving your vision without placing the burden entirely on your shoulders.
And finally, both pastimes require timing and patience. You’ve got to know when the glass is just the right temperature before you can roll it in color or shape it. Too hot, and it loses viscosity and runs off your blowpipe. Too cold, and it becomes rigid and insufficiently pliable. Meanwhile, in the PR game, you must also strike when the iron is hot by taking advantage of a buzzworthy story while media interest is peaking.
I must admit, however, that while everything I have written above is absolutely true, this blog post was really at its core a flimsy excuse to show off the glass pumpkins I just made. Enjoy!