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Face it, communicators: If you’re in PR, you’re in sales

by | May 1, 2024 | Public Relations

In today’s rapidly evolving job market, the ability to effectively sell and make a personal brand for yourself has become indispensable—it’s what sets people apart from the competition, regardless of the industry they’re in. Whether competing for a job opportunity or promoting a product or service, branding and marketing are directly correlated to sales, revenue and, ultimately, success. As President of Sell It, a company dedicated to helping businesses win, I’ve witnessed the transformative power of these skills firsthand in propelling careers forward and driving success in the digital age. 

Over the past five years since pitching the concept of an online business course to luxury real estate broker and entrepreneur, Ryan Serhant, I’ve honed my expertise in creating, launching, and scaling digital products and services that not only generate substantial revenue but also make a tangible impact on the lives of our members. 

Careers are based on skills, not jobs

Gone are the days when sticking to one industry or agency for your entire communications career was the norm. In fact, by 2027, half of the US economy will be engaged in gig or freelance work (Statista). In this dynamic landscape, the key to long-term career success isn’t a job title but cultivating a diverse set of skills that can be applied across various contexts. Whether it’s problem-solving, communication, or adaptability, intangible skills are the nuances that can launch PR professionals into the next level of their careers or can hold them back from achieving their fullest potential. 

Instead of pigeonholing themselves into a single role or industry, the most successful PR professionals embrace versatility, seeking out opportunities to apply their talents in new and innovative ways. By doing so, they not only enhance their own career prospects but also add value to their organizations and industries as a whole. The #1 skill a PR person can possess is the ability to sell and market themselves as they consistently do both things – whether it’s pitching a prospective client or pitching reporters stories that serve their clients.  

After a decade-long stint at NBC News, moving through different gigs at TODAY, NBC Nightly News, both Special and Digital, I mastered the art of storytelling and leveraged that to pitch one of the entrepreneurs I admired a business opportunity built on my unique skillset—and today, I’m running that entire part of the business. 

Everybody needs to know how to sell and market themselves

Knowing how to sell and market yourself is essential, regardless of the industry or profession, especially in marketing and communications. Whether you’re vying for a coveted RFP or promoting your clients’ latest launch, effectively communicating your value proposition and differentiating yourself from the competition can make all the difference. In an era where personal branding and online presence play an increasingly significant role, communications professionals who can effectively market not just their clients but themselves are better positioned to attract opportunities and advance their careers.

  • Personal branding: Invest time in crafting a compelling personal brand that showcases your unique strengths and what you value. Look to other professionals you admire and ask them what you’re good at, and lean into what makes you unique. 
  • Networking: Cultivate relationships with industry peers, mentors, and potential clients through networking events, conferences, and social media platforms. Building a strong network can open doors to new opportunities and provide invaluable insight.
  • Continuous learning: Stay current with the latest trends and developments in your industry through online courses, memberships, webinars, and industry publications. Be open-minded to new ways of doing things, and don’t be afraid to “pivot” – it’s all one career, building on experiences and skill sets to get to the next opportunity.

Creating a connection is crucial

The rise of automation and AI has created a massive opportunity for communications professionals to both distinguish themselves and showcase why they are invaluable assets to their clients. Whether it’s by crafting a pitch that can only be written by someone who has worked with the journalist before or seeing a client’s latest innovation with your own eyes, comms pros who harness the power of relationship building can help businesses cut through the digital noise and have the power to drive impact on bottom-line business goals.

While technological advancements have undoubtedly streamlined many aspects of business operations, they’ve also fostered a culture of detachment and impersonality. If we prioritize efficiency and convenience, we risk sacrificing the human touch that lies at the heart of effective communication. As communicators, we have to recognize the limitations of technology and prioritize the development of interpersonal skills to bridge the growing divide.

Sales can be your #1 skill in PR

In many ways, PR can feel like sales—whether it’s selling your PR services to clients, or selling your clients’ stories to media, effective communication and established relationships are what make successful salespeople and top-notch PR pros. By embracing the core principles of sales and marketing, communications professionals can not only thrive in their own careers but also empower their clients to stand out in a crowded marketplace. In an industry built on interpersonal connections, communicators can’t lose sight of the timeless value of genuine human connection and the transformative impact it can have on our collective success.

Kyle Scott
Kyle Scott is the president and co-founder of Sell It, as well as the driving force behind the success and continued growth at SERHANT. Wanting to help others succeed, Kyle helped found Sell It which offers courses, membership, coaching, speaking engagements, and events to tens of thousands of aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs around the world. Prior to launching Sell It, Kyle spent nearly ten years as a producer and journalist at NBC News. Kyle pitched Ryan on a content-to-commerce offering four years ago and, since then, has been instrumental in growing the company to eight figures in annual revenue.

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