Having worked in public relations for roughly two years, I realize that I have learned much more on the job than I did while hitting the books. Textbooks, of course, can teach you the practicality of PR, but it’s really sink or swim when you get into the driver’s seat. Here’s my advice for communications students…as well as fellow young professionals.
1. Get into the habit of communicating with clients
Having an open line of communication with your client is a MUST. They depend on you to enhance both their business and reputation. Being a public relations specialist is synonymous with being an excellent communicator.
2. Use who you already know
Whom you know -- and relationships you have -- can be very beneficial within any field. However, in PR, it’s especially advantageous if you foster and maintain close relationships with community members, past, current and potential clients, media personnel and key influencers.
3. Don’t take NO for an answer
Becoming more assertive as a person is inevitable when working in the PR field. After learning invaluable skills such as social media monitoring, endless pitching to media, keeping up with 9,999 emails -- all while abiding by countless deadlines -- you start to adopt the mentality that you’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done.
4. Multi-tasking is an everyday necessity
Get ready to have 25 tabs open on your internet browser while mastering the ability to read dozens of email threads within minutes!
5. Get close to your colleagues
Being a team player is invaluable in the PR field. There’s rarely such a thing as a solo project. Working in an agency allows you to develop great relationships with your colleagues because open collaboration and creative brainstorming are constants.
6. Learn how to spin
Pitching story ideas and angles to media teaches every great publicist how to position their clients across a multitude of platforms. You quickly learn how to position an idea or angle as it relates to your client. Sometimes, at first glance, it may seem as though your client is not a fit for a reporter’s article, but by thinking creatively, you just might be able to find new ways to communicate their messages and tell their stories.
Reporters are not the only ones working against the clock. Meetings, conferences and events force publicists to adhere to strict deadlines. This creates a fast-paced, constantly changing environment. You have to adapt…and always be ready.