Letter to Future Public Relations Practitioners

So you want to work in Public Relations? Great, but do you really know what that entails? As someone who has a few years under his belt, let me tell you.

Public Relations practitioners are tasked with much more than media relations or writing a speech for an executive. Clients hire PR practitioners not only to garner their company valuable media coverage but to also be a trusted advisor to their company.  That means at all days and hours you must be ready to help guide your client through any situation, good or bad.  All it takes is one bad news story, tweet, Instagram post, Facebook post, etc. to set off a chain of events that can ruin a company or person’s reputation.

A major key to success in the industry is that you have to know what your clients’ goals are. Without that, you cannot be successful.

Clients come from all over the world and that is one of the most exciting and challenging parts of the job. In this industry, I’ve interacted with people from every continent in the world (besides Antarctica), and each client has different goals for their company. For example, one client may be focused on broadcast coverage and featuring one company spokesperson whereas another may be a family run business that is more interested in being featured in business publications highlighting them as a family.

Knowing what media outlets can move the needle for your clients, what their sales goals are and what messaging they want conveyed to the public are all examples of goals that both the client and PR practitioner need to align on.

In today’s data driven age, having a free flowing information channel with your client can help to refine your PR program to yield better results. Sharing statistics and analytics with your client helps track sales and other trends. For example, I worked with a client that makes a fitness product. They found out from their sales and social media analytics that the majority of consumers purchasing the product were female. That information is crucial as a practitioner. You can use that to pivot your marketing strategy and target more of a female demographic.

Being a PR practitioner can be challenging and stressful because you have to expect the unexpected. If it was easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Now I hope I didn’t scare you away. Anything can happen at any time but that is also part of the fun! In first couple of years in the industry, I’ve been able to do some amazing things.

Here are a few of the highlights for me:

  • CES 2016-This January, I worked at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas or as I’d prefer to call it, “The Super Bowl of Tech.” Spending a week out there with a variety of clients was an extremely beneficial experience. The show had almost 200,000 in attendance and was even more massive in person. I was able to learn a lot and have fun (it is Las Vegas after all!)
  • Media Training Athletes-During my time at Florida State University as an intern with a sports-focused agency, I had the privilege of helping media train NCAA athletes from multiple Division 1 schools. Like I said before in today’s digital and social age, this is HUGE for any university.
  • New York Media Tour-I’m getting ready to go to New York to do a media tour on behalf of multiple different clients of the agency. I’ll be meeting with influential journalists from publications including The Wall Street Journal, CNET, Sports Illustrated, SELF and Golf Digest and talking about their editorial calendars and how I can be of help.

Public Relations is an evolving landscape and an integral part of any successful business. To be a successful PR practitioner, it takes a good personality, motivation, passion, patience and skill. If this sounds like something you are up for, go for it with all you’ve got because anything’s possible!

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