With a background in foreign languages, content marketing and copywriting, I was excited to transfer my diverse skillset to the PR industry when I started working at Scriba back in March.
But whilst I had worked alongside PR teams in previous jobs – and was familiar with their roles and responsibilities – I still did a lot of research into the industry and the company where I was applying to work.
So, if you’re thinking about a potential career in PR and are looking for some tips and tricks before jumping in at the deep end, take a peek at my advice below to hopefully feel inspired!
- Hone your interests
As with any sector, PR is a greatly varied sea of specialisms, meaning it’s important to do some investigation into the different areas that exist.
From in-house teams to big or small-scale agencies, with a B2B or B2C focus – and some even being sector-specific – there are a multitude of factors to consider when finding the areas that excite you the most.
As well as carrying out good old traditional research, one thing I truly encourage is getting some hands-on experience – you can’t beat it! And with a wealth of internships, work-shadowing opportunities, webinars, blogs and social media content also available at your fingertips, you’re well-equipped to find your niche in no time.
- Write here, write now
As PR is all about reputational management and how a firm is perceived in the public eye, a lot of the time this is channelled through the traditional and digital media space. Therefore, it’s super important that as a PR professional, you enjoy writing. Lots of writing.
When crafted correctly, words are powerful things that have the power to positively influence a business’s chosen audience. So, to keep your penmanship skills tip-top, try to get into the habit of writing regularly. Starting a blog, joining a literary group or doing your own journalistic story hunting are all great ways to channel your inner writer.
- Embrace face-to-face contact
Whilst we rely on an arsenal of emails, texts voice and videocalls to get us through the weekly communication battle, there’s so much to be said for attending a meeting in person. But with all this technology, people can forget about real human interaction – and even be scared of it – but in PR this isn’t a viable option.
Now, we know that time is of the essence, so daily – even weekly – meetings aren’t really feasible for clients, but for example, if you’re working in an agency, monthly or bimonthly get-togethers are crucial for ensuring you’re on their wavelengths and under the skin of the business.
- Live, eat and breathe news
As a savvy communications professional in the making, it’s useful to get into the habit of digesting your daily dose of news. This could be in any local, regional, national or sector-specific title, which could be of interest to the brand you’re doing PR for.
This perma-monitoring plays a pivotal role in you being the eyes and ears for your client, helping to maximise the potential media opportunities out there for them.
So, if you’re trying to stay in tune with the news surrounding certain industries, trends or topics, setting up Google Alerts is a great way to tailor the headlines you’re interested in!
- Learn to adapt
The skill of being a chameleon comes more naturally to some of us than others, but because working in PR is changeable from day-to-day, the ability to acclimatise to a host of different situations is a real must.
For example, if you’re used to writing essays, you’ll find that press releases, features, award entries – and any number of other PR-related tasks – are vastly different from this. Therefore, it’s important that you have a can-do attitude and can deal with constructive criticism, especially in the days when you’re trying to grasp a new style of writing.
- Demonstrate an appetite for learning
You may land your dream job in PR, but that doesn’t mean that the learning and effort stops there. In fact, it’s only the basis of a long and fruitful career in this fast-paced industry.
As you soak up advice and information about how the comms industry works, you’ll start to shape the direction you’d like your role to go in. So, an enthusiastic desire to learn on the job – as well as a proactive interest to seek out self-development opportunities – is a top tip from my side, because this will make you the most successful and happy PR expert you can be.