As a young aspiring PR professional, I thought getting into PR would be glamorous lots of parties, networking, and more. It wasn’t! There were a lot of things I learnt along the way. The best teacher for me has been experience; I’ve dealt with bosses from hell, clients who never budge on their actions, or their budgets! Media, that’s been tough to crack and extremely difficult and demanding. Text books, courses, and classrooms can teach you theory, but real PR practice comes when you’re in the field actually working, networking and it isn’t always glamorous!
To someone who would love to work in PR- here are a few things you should know.
- Common sense: That my friend will be your lifelong friend. It comes in handy when dealing with people, clients, media and simply learning apply that to situations is a talent and asset that people look for when they hire freshers. Unfortunately, this is a skill that cannot be taught, so it is really important to apply yourself and understand your company, work policies, clients and media, and other situations accordingly.
- Content is King: It really is! As a PR person you not only have to work on content for clients, but it has to be the right pitch for media as well. Why would someone be interested in reading or speaking with you if you cannot present your idea well?
- Presentation: And I mean overall presentation. As a PR person you need to be well groomed, well turned out and well spoken. There is hardly any room for error because it is absolutely true; your first impression is your last impression. You are the pitch- when you pitch for an account, when you pitch to media, when you pitch an account to bloggers, influencers. They need to take you seriously and believe in you, so you need to make sure, at all times, you fit the bill and are confident enough to command a room full of peers.
- Respect: For boundaries, timings that indicate how professional you are. Times have changed, a lot, younger kids need to realise that people in senior positions have experience that comes with them. Creating a work-life balance is healthy. We already live in this digital world, where ones phone pings nonstop. Clients also need to realise that it is not possible to be available all the time. Work during work hours, respect your work, your timings, and set your boundaries in place. You have to give people their space too, follow ups are important but it is also important to read into underlying tones, messages, and more to see which direction your conversation is heading.
- Networking: is probably one of the most important aspects related to PR. It is important to go to events, show up for work meetings, and more. It is important to be seen and heard in the right circles if you plan to advance your career as a PR professional and be taken seriously. Networking goes a long way- in making contacts, especially if you are someone who has a flair to convert conversations into a business pitch and bring on prospective clients. This helps build your communication muscle and skills.
For anyone who does consider getting into Public Relations, you need to know it’s always an on-going, ever-changing, learning process. A lot has changed, people work differently now, but the basics have always remained in place. There isn’t a one size fits all solutions, you need learn, evolve, and adapt. Each client has a different need, and you need to understand that in order to pitch your brand correctly. We’ve moved away from a traditional set up and way of working, everything has changed around us and digital media is on the rise. As a PR professional, you need to stay on top of media trends, and feel the pulse of the story!