Skills are the lifeblood of being a professional. You must know them, master them, embody…
So, you want to get a job in PR? Or, maybe, you’re new to a role in PR but aren’t quite sure what to expect which, in this case, you’ll want to continue reading onward. And, even if you aren’t new to the PR space, chances are you can relate to these 15 PRos who share their thoughts about working in the industry.
Surprise! None of these things are taught in school and many are learned on the job. The brutal truth is that just like any other profession there are high and lows you will endure during your tenure.
Now, let’s take a look at what these PRos have to say about working in PR and what you can learn from them.
The first, from John Forberger, is motivational-ish:
You can excel in PR and dislike 90% of it.
— John Forberger (@JohnForberger) February 10, 2021
I think what John is trying to say is that PR isn’t difficult to master but all the glitz and glam portrayed by TV shows and movies is nowhere near what one feels when they have a press release going out at 4 am ET and they live in Los Angeles (that’s PT for those who don’t know).
Next, Socialworx PR chimes in with:
Breaking up with or firing clients. If they don’t fit, won’t listen, know more than you & aren’t realistic, it’s time to cut them loose.
— Socialworx PR (@SocialworxPR) February 9, 2021
This is the brutal truth of agency life and nobody, I mean nobody, enjoys this part of the role. Equally as much, clients hate to be the pesky ones and many of them are really great to work with. Keep an eye out for the “bad seeds” and be honest with yourself, and them, when things aren’t working out as intended.
Christina Nicholson provides a second point for client-facing PRos:
Most of your clients will have no clue what it is despite you explaining how it works repeatedly. Example: Your promotion is NOT news! pic.twitter.com/jEw9yMCq9x
— Christina Nicholson (@ChristinaAllDay) February 9, 2021
Make sure you set expectations and outline goals to effectively communicate the value you bring to a client relationship. We outline more about PR KPIs to track here.
Moreover, Jamie Glavis says:
Don’t be a pushover. You weren’t hired to say “yes” to every client idea or suggestion. Trust your gut and get comfortable sharing your experience/insights/research – even if/when that means recommending a different approach.
— Jamie Glavic (@JamieGlavic) February 10, 2021
The lesson being, you’re the PR professional and you can dictate good strategy from bad. If you have a hunch it’s a bad idea, speak up before it’s too late.
For Paul Muolo, his experience pitching hasn’t always been pleasant.
You may get cursed out by a journalist or 2 😉… Keep it moving! 💯
— Paul Muolo (@prmuolo) February 10, 2021
It’s important to be mindful of a “no response” or someone who flat out tells you they aren’t interested. Spare yourself from humiliation and remember to be kind and respectful to journalists. They’re people too just like you and I.
PR extraordinaire, Michelle Garret, has 3 important reminders for you:
It can be HARD.
It isn't just writing press releases.
You need to understand the business you're representing.
— Michelle Garrett (@PRisUs) February 9, 2021
The third, in my opinion, is the most important and often times the most difficult. You can’t be an expert in a few days or weeks but you MUST know as much as you can about who you’re working with and who they compete with.
Anne Deanovic, chimed in with her take and I’m sure you can relate:
You are also expected to be an anthropologist, writer, therapist, financial whiz, event planner, researcher, and creative director with a side of tech-saviness and the mind of a journalist
— Anne Deanovic (@hotmustardpr) February 9, 2021
PRos are versatile and have a wide set of skills. If this sounds like a quote from a Liam Neeson movie, that’s because his next role is an undercover PR account manager for a multinational PR firm whose top client was just kidnapped.
Paul Kluding says:
That Public Relations as a concept has a 1,000 different definitions, and that those definitions can have both negative and positive connotations. #PR
— Paul Kluding (@PR__Paul) February 9, 2021
He isn’t alone either. This list might be looking more on the negative side but keep reading for more upbeat responses.
Strike PR makes a great point about the confusion surrounding PR vs MR:
That too many people still think PR is just media relations
— Strike Communications (@strike_comms) February 10, 2021
Yes, media relations is a facet of PR but not the ONLY thing PRos do within their role.
Cedric F. Brown shares more about placements:
Not all media placements are good media placements.
— Cedric F. Brown (@abrothanamedCed) February 9, 2021
This is a tough nut to crack but being mindful of where your brand or clients are mentioned is important and can have serious implications.
Lacy Trejo also shares about media relations:
The tremendous pressure on your shoulders – when in reality you have little control when it comes to media relations.
— Lacey Trejo (@LaceyTPR) February 9, 2021
All I have to say is, “ain’t that the truth!”
Rachel Gattuso, has some great advice for working with journalists:
You’ll be the scapegoat plenty, but journos get it worse. Work to build a healthy relationship as a liaison between you and your reporter peeps; which can take years, and go to bat for reporters when warranted. Otherwise, why be in this field?
— Rachel Gattuso, APR (@rgattuso) February 9, 2021
Keyphrase: Work to build a healthy relationship…
On a more positive note, PR Ramp shared this:
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most effective.
— PR Ramp (@PR_ramp) February 9, 2021
The saying KISS (keep it simple stupid) didn’t become popular because someone was lazy or upset. Remember: simplicity > complexity.
The PR Podcast also shares some positive light when it comes to media relations:
The adrenaline rush when your pitch turns into a story and when your client simply says "thank you." #PublicRelations
— ThePRPodcast (@ThePRPodcast1) February 9, 2021
We couldn’t agree more! This recent placement in PRweek had our entire team jumping for joy at 7 am before our first cup of coffee.
Lastly, Tonya McKenzie provides great advice for how to excel in PR:
Your network is your net worth. Have good people skills. Start there! 🌟
— 🟣 Tonya McKenzie, LA County Commissioner (@TonyaMcKenziePR) February 10, 2021
Whether you leave this post thinking PR is the best, or worst, just know that everyone who responded to this thread is still working in PR. That should say enough, shouldn’t it?
For more weekly Twitter questions, check out my Twitter page every Tuesday and chime in with your answers! Also, take a moment to follow OnePitch on Twitter where we share even more tips, tricks, and industry advice to enable you to pitch more effectively.