The public relations industry is constantly evolving from how we engage with media to how we receive our news. Many of these changes can be attributed to the upheaval in technology over the past decade. Regardless of changes in the industry and whether you are a newcomer or 10+ year veteran, in my four years working in the field, I have found there are inherent qualities all successful PR professionals share. Here are four tips for a successful career in PR:
1. Be Aware
Not only do you always need to be aware of the news cycle surrounding your clients, be aware of what their competitors and industry affiliates are talking about. Set up news alerts for your clients and their competitors. While you may question whether a bit of competitive news is significant, don’t hesitate to pass along articles or social media posts to clients or prospective clients. You may be alerting them to something they haven’t seen.
2. Offer Solutions
As PR professionals we are more often than not dealt a problem and tasked with changing a perception or responding to a crisis. Go back to your client with a solution, not a problem. Think through the possible solutions and provide recommendations to resolve the issue at hand. While the client may not always take your recommendations, it demonstrates forward thinking.
3. Maintain Relationships
Whether it is with media, clients or prospective clients, continue the dialogue. Send regular updates to clients, share timely news items with prospective clients and engage with reporters even after they have covered your clients news. By sending a brief e-mail or sharing a post on social media it shows that you are proactive and actively engaging which is key to maintaining relationships in this industry.
4. Don’t Lose Your Cool
The majority of difficult situations we encounter in public relations can’t be predicted. Check fear at the door, address the issue and begin working on solutions. Remember: you and your client are on the same team.
From protecting a client’s image to managing the flow of information to the public, it all comes down to one great balancing act. Manage your time, prioritize, learn from your mistakes and you will succeed in this industry.