Working in public relations can be a varied, fast-paced, and fascinating career, but being employed within an agency is a very different experience compared to starting a business from scratch. The digital marketing revolution has only increased the demand for knowledgeable PR professionals who can help brands to get their products and marketing campaigns noticed by the right audiences.
The best PR professionals have a foundation of relevant academic qualifications and can combine this with a natural creativity, knowledge of media and journalism, and an intuitive understanding of human behaviour.
If you are considering starting your own PR business, here are 6 top tips to keep in mind:
1. Get professional experience
Once you have the academic theory, it is vital that you solidify your knowledge with real-world experience working in the public relations industry before you set out on your own. No amount of study can prepare you for the unpredictable nature of media and client management. To give yourself the best possible start, consider getting a job at a PR company so you can learn the trade from the inside.
2. Appear at events
Do some research into professional networking, corporate meetings, or public gatherings where you may be able to speak publicly on the topic of public relations. This will give you the opportunity to exhibit your knowledge and expertise to a room full of potential clients. Be sure to keep business cards with you always so you can hand them out as needed.
3. Go it alone in the beginning
In the early days of your business, it is often best to focus on working as a solo PR consultant. This ensures you can build a solid portfolio of work which you can use to promote the business and establish a positive reputation. When you are well established and your company name has some kudos, and you have a strong brand, you can start to expand. Find out more about branding a start-up.
4. Network as much as possible
PR success is not something which can be achieved in isolation. You need to have a network of journalists from all types of media as well other professionals such as solicitors, psychologists, marketing consultants, and depending on your clients, contacts in a wide range of industries. Almost every professional you meet could be a potential client, so networking will be essential to growth.
5. Have a professional office space
PR is all about perception; therefore, it is important that you consider your image. You may be planning to work from home in the early days, but meeting clients at home may not be ideal. Consider renting office space or meeting rooms at a Clockwise so you can meet with clients in a more professional setting.
6. Write a blog
It should go without saying that you need a website so that you can establish an online presence, but it should include a blog where you can publish unique and informative articles on public relations. If you write blogs which cover your target keywords and adhere to principles of search engine optimization, you can maximize the likelihood that your website will appear on page one of the search results.