5 pieces of advice for new PR professionals
Establishing your professional career after college is no easy task, and the road to success will likely be littered with a ton of trial and error. That's OK!
When it comes to landing your dream job in Public Relations, it can take some time to find your niche, especially if you're still building your professional profile. Beyond revamping your resume and getting new headshots, there are even better ways for up and coming PR professionals to get ahead. Below, are our top five pieces of advice for those looking to take on a career in Public Relations.
1. Accept that your "personal" social media will now be more of a business tool from here on out.
This includes everything from cleaning up old accounts, deleting old college party photos and updating all of your profile photos to a more professional look. You may even consider getting new headshots to use across all of your profiles. Recent grad on a budget? No problem! Smart phones have come a long way, so don't be afraid to just snap a few shots with a clean background, and be sure to wear your "hire me" attire. When working in public relations, journalists and colleagues will google you, look you up on social, and even friend request you from time to time. Try viewing social media as an extension of your professional image and utilize it for building business and media relationships early on.
2. Never send mass emails, they're a waste of time anyway.
Don't cut corners, just put in the time, and do the work. Public Relations truly is about building relationships and understanding what makes a story a good fit for each media contact. You can start by building a list of ideal outlets for coverage, then narrowing down the various journalists at each outlet and following them on social, staying abreast of their latest work and even dropping in on their blog to leave a comment if they have one. The key is to genuinely get to know someone through their work, and the bonus is that it makes your job easier in the long run. When you have a story to tell, you'll easily be able to reference all of this and have someone in mind who would be a perfect fit. The "pitch" then becomes more of a "presentation".
3. Join local groups specific to your niche.
We all get a ton of invites to "networking events" and you can spend a lot of time spinning your wheels without any real connection. Once you've decided on a specific niche to focus on - fashion, nonprofit, fitness - look for ways to align yourself by signing up for email newsletters and joining Facebook groups in those industries. This allows you to be selective with your time commitments, while honing in on the connections that matter most.
4. Organization is key!
Type 'A' personalities will already know this, but believe it or not, spreadsheets actually are your friend. Get in the habit of planning out your agenda for at least the next six months, and eventually for the year. Knowing what beats are on the horizon will help you to work smarter, not harder. Map out your strategy for the each month, and start planning as far in advance as possible. Trust us, this will change your life!
5. Build your professional brand by actually being a reliable source, and offering valuable information.
For example, join industry relevant conversations on Quora or even Reddit, and offer advice on pieces specific to your expertise. You may also consider starting a bog, or joining online communities where you can comment on topics and jump into conversations to offer insider info. This way, you're able to leave your professional mark everywhere you go!
Still looking for tips on how to establish yourself as a new PR professional? Be sure to check out our blog on building media relationships!