Public Relations Tips
You finally did it—you landed that Public Relations job you have been dreaming of. You can picture it now: walking into the office looking as dapper as Donald Draper, scotch in your hand and cigarette hanging out of the side of your mouth. You know this is the job of your dreams and you know you will (someday) be a mastermind like Draper himself. However, before you get carried away with fantasies of amazing pitches and campaigns, you need to master the basics. Knowing the simple guidelines for PR is a good place to start.
There are countless types of PR jobs in this world; it could be a corporate position or one for an individual firm. You could be doing internal communications, financial PR, non-profit marketing, B2B communications, or even sports marketing. Since there is such a wide variety of opportunities in the world of marketing and communications, it’s difficult to provide people with precise guidelines for their specific career path.
Regardless of how broad or general your line of work may be, there are five cardinal rules for starting your Public Relations career off on the right foot that will guarantee you success in some form or another. As a new PR pro myself, take my word for it. These rules will save you time and energy, and in this industry, you’ll want as much of those as you can get! These five rules include:
- Read and research
- Utilize your resources
- Attend conferences
- Join PRSA
- Have fun!
If you implement these five rules into your everyday practice, you are sure to make progress, learn, and get the most out of your job for you and your client!
Read and Research
If you are a recent PR grad, “read and research” is probably the last thing you want to do right now. However, those college professors may have had a point when they stressed the importance of literature and how much wonderful knowledge you can gain from it. Whether you simply browse an industry related blog or you want to take on more of a challenge by reading an entire book, there is a wealth of knowledge out there available to you whenever you need it.
If you are looking for specific information such as tourism PR or something as broad as restaurant marketing, there are tools out there that will fit your every need.
Utilize Your Resources
This may seem like a common sense tip, but you would be surprised by the number of people who underestimate the resources they are surrounded by every day at work. Books and blogs are a great place to start when looking to learn more about your PR career, but nothing beats firsthand experience when it comes to learning the ropes.
The senior level PR professionals at your office will be the best resource you can utilize. Whether you have questions about something as simple as office policies or as complex as getting national coverage for a client, they are there to help and mentor you through every step of the process.
If you work at a larger company, it is even more beneficial for you because you have access to so many professionals who each have their own strengths. Don’t ever hesitate to grab coffee with your coworkers and pick their brain about the PR and marketing industry.
Make sure to purchase an AP Style Guide. Most news reporters write to associated press style. Learn the basics, but keep that guide on your desk or get a digital subscription.
Conferences are another great way to learn while you are working in the professional world. Some companies are generous in the time and money they dedicate to their employees to attend conferences, while others are more conservative. Whether you are allowed to attend a large, nationwide conference or you are restricted to keeping it local, there are hundreds of conferences across the country that will be able to offer you information on any topic you can think of.
Take the time to do some research on a conference that interests you and plead your case to your boss. Some local conferences may even be inexpensive enough to fund yourself. With the extensive networking you can do at conferences and the in-depth workshops you will be a part of, conferences are well worth the money. At Zion & Zion, we are lucky enough to be sent to two national conferences every year. All that’s asked of us is that we return and present what we learned to the rest of the agency. This allows the entire team to stay in the loop on new trends, no matter the department it falls into.
If you only take one thing away from this article, have it be the fact that you immediately need to join PRSA! The Public Relations Society of America is an extensive, global PR network that provides education and networking for its members. Regardless of what type of PR, communications, or marketing you are a part of, PRSA is a necessity for a successful career.
PRSA holds regular happy hour events, media breakfasts and other helpful seminars in your area. In addition to the individual chapter you are a member of (Phoenix Denver, etc.) there are also a large number of specialized groups you can be a member of or volunteer for. Since you are new to your PR career, PRSA New Pros is just the thing for you. This group is dedicated to introducing PR Pros with five years or less of experience to the industry while allowing them to connect with other new pros in their area.
By becoming a member of PRSA or (better yet) volunteering for your local chapter, you will make invaluable connections and have access to more seasoned professionals than you can imagine.
At the end of the day, when all of your T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted, a job in the PR world needs to involve some fun. Make a point to attend PRSA happy hours and make friends in your professional community. PR is generally an outgoing job filled with outgoing people, so always take advantage of it.
The more people you meet and the more connections you make, the better off you will be. Few people have ever found much success by being closed off and opposed to meeting new people and trying new things. Regardless of what stage you are at in your PR career, always take some time to live life to the fullest and put things into perspective. The best quality a PR professional can have is the ability to occasionally unwind and reflect on your success.
So with these five tools in hand, get out there and become the killer PR pro you have always wanted to be.