If you are looking to pursue a future in Public Relations, then you will find this Post very useful. I’m sharing 5 important aspects that are often taken for granted in the pursuit of getting things done. I’ve seen many newbies forget these basics and end up burning out within a year or two.
BUILD YOUR DATABASE
Apart from servicing clients, one of the first projects I was part of in a PR agency was to build a media database. It was the “go to” list for everyone in the Company.
What should you include? Get as detailed as possible. Include story links, beats, social media presence, current journalist, etc. keep the list updated. Create a Publications/Channels profile – brief on top columns, shows, etc.
No one enjoys filling spreadsheets, no one does it for no reason too. It’s easily among the top assets for a PR professional. Make a habit of it. One that you will eventually learn to enjoy.
KNOW YOUR MANAGER
People leave managers, not companies. Mostly.
Some managers are just impossible to work with – choose to be kind, you’ll gain patience and confidence. It always works, if it doesn’t seem to work, you’ll learn to manage your next boss better. It’s best to learn and understand their expectations when you begin the relationship.
Focus on building a sound professional relationship. Understand work styles, timelines, modes of communication, whatever is required to ensure a sound partnership. No need to compromise on your values or work-timings (if not feasible for you).
Be honest, seek to enjoy your relationship so you can always be truthful and avoid the need for manipulating. As you grow, you might think you know more than your manager, don’t let it get to you. Focus on doing your job well.
TRUST YOUR JOURNALIST
Journalists are people, not your “targets” or “trophies” to be used to impress your Clients or Company. There are good and bad journalists, like there are good and bad PR professionals. Focus on the job you need to get done.
Do your homework. Find out the stories they’ve written, observe their social channels, engage with them online – encourage, inform. Don’t overdo by trying to gain attention. Engage because its mutually beneficial, honour the platform too.
Credibility builds Trust. Trust builds the Relationship.
LOVE YOUR CLIENT
If you don’t enjoy what you do, then you’ll never really be able to give your best. In an agency setup, you get to work on multiple clients.
In my initial days with an agency, I worked on a Technology giant, and a couple of other smaller accounts. I loved working on the Technology account because of the team at the agency, and an amazing in-house Corporate Communications team. Most of all, I loved what I was doing – raising awareness on all the awesome CSR work the Company was doing across the country. I believed in the need to spread goodness, and I was able to do it while servicing my account. Purpose driven work.
It’s important to at least have a good team to work with, even if you have an irrational client (Corporate Communications). When you enjoy the work you do, you’ll learn to manage tough clients as well. You cannot please all. Get your basics in place: read up on the industry regularly, watch the trends in its space, develop an opinion around the company’s strategy and why you believe in it. Be curious, ask questions and keep yourself updated.
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
Be a learner, open to advice and willing to act on it. If you don’t overcome the environment around you, you will be conditioned by the place you are in.
Fear or a lack of confidence because of your inadequacy is a huge hindrance in any job.
Read a lot. Write regularly (Blog). Share (Use Social Media extensively) your knowledge with all those who can benefit from it. Don’t be discouraged by someones bad attitude, instead focus on giving your best.
Your team, manager, journalist, and clients are all emotional beings – kindness and positive thinking always wins in the long run.
You are sorted if you have these qualities in place. Rest, you will learn on the job. They won’t teach you these in business school.