Public relations is an exciting and rewarding industry in which to work. No day is ever the same, and nothing beats the high of delivering valuable media coverage and results that directly and positively impact a client’s business.
For those just getting started in their PR careers, figuring out how to drive these kinds of results can be daunting and confusing. PR requires a set of new skills that can only be learned on the job and may take a bit of trial and error to get right.
Here are a few things I’ve learned since I started working in PR that may be helpful for those looking to launch their own careers in this industry:
1. The best advice I’ve ever received is to read a lot. Anyone who works in PR will stress the importance of being well-read. This means staying up-to-date on all news and trends relating to your clients and the world at large. Some of the most successful media placements can stem from jumping on a breaking news story. Flipping through daily newspapers, magazines and trade publications every day, even those that don’t directly relate to your client verticals, will keep you abreast of what’s going on in the world and impacting your client’s space, and will ultimately open your eyes to new angles and story ideas.
2. Pitching is arguably the most important skill to have in your arsenal. It’s the lifeblood of PR, and if you’re good at it, the opportunities you can secure for your clients are many. To be successful at pitching, you need to be able to see the story from multiple angles. What does the reporter care about? What will your client be comfortable speaking to? What will be the most interesting to readers? Being able to connect these dots between your client’s sweet spot, what story you can sell the reporter and the trends that are gaining traction in the news cycle will set you up to become a pitching fiend.
To take this one step further, it’s also important to let go of your fear of rejection. Having a well-crafted and convincing pitch is only half the battle – sometimes a rejected pitch comes down to poor timing or a lack of editorial space. This is where your professional aggressiveness should kick in. If you don’t take no for an answer and offer to either submit a contributed article or work the topic with the reporter so it fits the publication’s specific editorial needs, you can improve your pitching effectiveness and turn virtually every “no” you get into a placement.
3. Don’t ignore your gut – most of the time, it’s right. When starting out in your career, it’s easy to second guess yourself and seek validation from your colleagues before pulling the trigger on a task, but you have to be willing to take a few chances. Working at a PR agency is like being on a sports team: Everyone needs to be communicating and working together and everyone needs to pull his or her own weight.
Don’t be afraid to share your ideas, voice your opinion, make recommendations or pull the trigger on something just for the sake of getting that extra validation. Your fresh perspective is immensely important and gives you a point of view that no one else on the team will have. Ultimately, your goal is to be effective, both for your team and your clients, so if you know what needs to happen to get the job done, go ahead and do it.
Looking to launch your PR career? Join our team and you can tell us what you learn your first year.