How to Get Started with PR
Public Relations is a fast-paced industry in which you get out what you put in. With PR, the more you put in, the more you’ll get back. While the initial years may feel overwhelming, the work you put in will be worth it in the end. In the first few years in the industry, you’ll set the foundations for a long and rewarding career. If you’re thinking about a career in PR, keep reading to learn how to get started.
Do Your Research
Research, research, research. Before applying for an internship, educate yourself on the area that you’re interested in. Delve into the industry from both the journalistic and product perspective; if fashion interests you, set aside time each day to read relevant publications. From a journalistic perspective, which publications cover your industry? Explore these publications in detail and look into each journalist’s writing style. Note the specific topics that they cover and the tone of voice they write in. Essentially, do your research and know your stuff!
Your success in the PR industry will depend on the personal and professional connections that you make. Once you’ve made the connections, you’ll need to maintain and utilise them to see results. Before applying for an internship, reach out to every PR expert that you know for industry tips and CV advice. If possible, use these connections to set up job shadowing or informational interviews. By doing this, you won’t only learn everything about a company, but you’ll also get to know potential employers in a no-pressure environment.
Prepare for the Interview Process
While this may seem obvious, it’s worth noting. Too many candidates turn up to their interview unprepared, and when they do, it’s blatantly obvious. To prepare, start with the basics. Print out multiple copies of your CV and take them to the meeting in a protective folder. This way, you can rest assured they won’t get damaged on the journey there. Next, review the company’s website. Know exactly who they are and what they do so you can ask some relevant questions about their approach, clients and recent projects. In addition to researching the company, do your homework on the industry itself. Make sure you can have an intelligent conversion about this and the job for which you’re applying.
Bag an Internship
Once you’ve prepared for the interview process, it’s time to put yourself out there. To gain workplace knowledge, put yourself forward for internships or work experience wherever you can. This is particularly important if you do not have a degree in communications. While a degree is a plus, it’s certainly not necessary to have a successful career in Public Relations. Often, the most successful PR professionals have no degree but several different skillsets. To gain as much knowledge as possible, intern at a few different companies before applying for a full-time paid role.
Stay in Touch
The PR industry is constantly evolving. To keep up with the times, it’s important to be aware of what’s happening in the industry and what’s trending online. PR pro’s develop strategies to help clients bridge the gap between traditional PR and digital marketing. To do this, you’ll need to consume all media from magazines to blogs, newspapers to social platforms. Some people don’t want a divide between traditional and digital PR. For these clients, the campaign needs to be effective across all platforms.
Understand both Digital and Traditional PR
As the digital world continues to grow, you’d expect print marketing to be less popular. However, this isn’t the case. Research from the Advertising Association and WARC revealed that newspaper advertising rose by 1% in the first 3 months of 2018 – the highest increase since 2010. Learning about both digital and traditional PR will put you in a good position to succeed and may even set you apart from your competition. For insights, research and industry news, flick through sites such as The Drum and PRWeek.
Build an Online Profile
To showcase your skillset and talents, build an online profile and put yourself out there. LinkedIn is a popular platform as it allows you to connect with other professionals. By following agencies on their social platforms, you’ll stay up to date with current trends and any changes in the industry. Over time, you can start to form your own opinion and decide on the kind of things you’d like to achieve in PR. This will appeal to employers as it demonstrates your passion for working in the industry.
Polish Your Writing Skills
Writing skills are essential to your success in PR, as you’ll constantly be writing blog posts, press materials, social media content and so much more. To ensure you’re at the top of your game, take courses in writing and learn AP Style. When you apply for a job, write your introductory email or cover letter as you would an important pitch. Do your homework and tailor your writing to that company. For extra brownie points, address your letter to a specific person at the company.
In PR, you can always learn more. To keep progressing in the field, get consistent feedback from your peers and supervisors and take it on board. Whether you’re in work experience or a full-time position, make sure you’re receiving feedback from your superior and don’t be put off by constructive criticism. Use any negative feedback as a way to improve yourself and your skillset. Remember that they wouldn’t bother giving you feedback if they didn’t believe in your skills.
Be present – both online and in person. Don’t be afraid to speak up, express your ideas and learn everything that you can. If an opportunity comes your way, never turn it down. Meet with people from different departments to learn about their career path; you never know, one day this information could benefit you! Do whatever you can to learn everything, and make yourself stand out as you do so.