Whether you want to hire a PR rep or become one, you need to know what makes a practitioner successful. Here are a few things that every smart PR pro does:
1. Gain experience early
Successful PR reps should get experience as soon as possible. If you study PR in college, that means getting an internship with a PR firm. You can also start your own blog and cover businesses and people you’re interested in. That way, you can get a sense of what PR is like. You can also read a lot of press releases and other media coverage for companies to learn what companies look for.
The earlier you start getting some PR experience, the easier it will be to be successful later. You’ll have the knowledge and skills to get PR coverage for clients, and you can set yourself apart as a PR rep.
2. Build their network
If you don’t know anyone, you won’t be able to get clients, and you won’t be able to get press for your clients. You should go to as many networking events as possible during school and your career. That way, you can meet other PR professionals and editors for major publications. You can also network with people online on sites like LinkedIn. Fill out your profile to show off your PR credentials and connect with people in the industry.
You can continue to build your network throughout your career. That way, if an editor leaves a publication, you won’t scramble to find another publication to fill that spot in your contacts. If you have a variety of contacts, you will have a higher chance of getting press quickly for your clients.
3. Find a niche
If you want to set yourself apart from other PR reps, find a niche. Focus on an industry or type of company you want to work with. Perhaps you’re interested in makeup, so you decide to focus on getting PR for cosmetic companies. Or maybe you love the startup world, so you work with smaller businesses. PR is one of the biggest business challenges across all industries. So if you know a lot about PR and a particular industry, you can connect the two. You’ll be more valuable to your clients, and they’ll want to work with you whenever they need press in the future. Clients can trust that you know their industry and customers, so you can write press releases that interest your clients’ audiences.
4. Keep learning
Successful PR reps don’t stop learning. You could have years of professional experience, but that won’t matter if you don’t keep up with media trends. The media changes frequently, and what works for PR now might not work in a couple of years. You can attend professional development workshops, conferences and read books. Read industry newsletters for public relations, and stay in touch with other PR reps.
While you don’t have to learn every day, you should learn often. You never know when a big change might happen. If you don’t adjust your PR strategy, it may not be as successful, and your client may not get the results they want.
5. Work with others
PR can seem very lonely, but you need to be able to work with others. Not only do you need to work with clients, but you also have to work with editors, journalists and other PR people. If you work for a PR company, you may need to report to a manager or work with people on your team. And if you work for yourself, you’ll still need to report to clients and publications.
Successful PR reps know how to communicate with others to get the job done. They know how to please clients and respond to feedback when a client is unhappy. PR reps have to be able to adapt to what others need and want.
If you want to be a successful PR rep or to hire one, you need to know what makes someone great at the job. From working with others to getting experience, success in PR requires hard work, but it’s well worth it.