Create a unique brand for yourself
Thanks to the golden age of social media branding is not as complex of a task as it used to be. As a PR newbie your brand is extremely important as it allows you to shape and control how others perceive you.
What is your story? What will make you stand out from the rest? What are you passionate about? These are all questions to think about when you are creating your brand. For example if you want be perceived as an industry expert share advice and tips to create this perception. Remember keep it simple & make it memorable. Your brand is a reflection of you.
Antoinette Says: Keep your social media handles consistent: Whether it be for Facebook, Twitter or Instagram consistency is important and allows others to easily identify you
Jessica Says: Think of your brand as your first client. You cannot create a brand for others if you cannot successfully create one for yourself. Be your first success story
Social Media Clean up
As the Intern Queen says, “ It’s time to control the information you put out onto the universe.” As a PR professional, many employers and potential clients will research your online presence to find out more information about who you are. It’s important to clean up and filter what you share. You would not want photos from drunken college nights, or sexy vacation pictures to distort their perception of you.
Before you post an image or a tweet think about if that post will alter your dream employer or clients perception of you.
Do a social media clean up and get rid of anything that may raise any eyebrows
Antoinette says: It is completely okay to share that fabulous personality of yours. Social media is a great tool to connect people without the face-to-face interaction. However use it with caution. Be you, keep it classy, and keep it professional!
Jessica says: Always remember Twitter is not your diary. Remember that this is how people search for you in a professional sense now, words to not come with receipts so watch what you put up. Keep the most personal parts of your life private. Less is more.
Know what PR is
As a PR professional you will be asked by clients, friends, and family “what is PR?” Although there is not one uniformed definition, find the definition that aligns with what you do the most and stick with it. You cannot pitch a potential client if you cannot tell them what it is you do.
To make this easy here are a few definitions we like:
“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” (PRSA,2011)
The art and science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organization leaders and implementing planned programs of action which will serve both organizations and the public’s interest. (Developing the PR campaign, 2009)
PR connects people to people (business to consumer)
PR is the practice of managing communication between an organization and its public. It’s a field concerned with maintaining public image for businesses, not for profit organizations, or high profile people such as celebrities, athletes, and politicians. (Sherri Jones PR, 2013)
Jessica Says: Public relations is giving a voice to an inanimate object.
Keep up with current events
As a publicist one the most important duties involves you keeping up to date with current events. Get a subscription for your local newspaper; follow news outlets on Twitter; read press releases online. These are all ways you can keep up with what is going on.
Antoinette Says: Take this a step further by keeping up to date with technological changes as well. Keep up to date with the latest social media and communications tools.
Become comfortable with Multitasking
Some days you will lose sleep and you will have to juggle a various number of clients and tasks. Its important to stay organized in order to stay on top of things. Some days will be overwhelming, but remember you’re in control. Use tools such as calendars and to do lists to help you complete your tasks with ease. Wunderlist is a great tool to use to keep on track and up to date on what you need to do.
PR Mentor/ Internship
Internships are a great way to turn all that textbook knowledge into to practical experience. Aside from giving you real life experience, internships help you become familiar with your strengths and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes. Do as many internships as you like. The introduction of virtual internships makes it easier to complete a variety of different internships regardless of location.
Alongside interning it is also important to have a PR Mentor. Ideally you mentor should be someone in the field or expertise of your choice with some tenure. Mentors are important because they were once a beginner like you. Your mentor can help push you in the right direction and can give you great advice. Its great to have someone who understands your role, shares the same interest, and understands things that excite you as a publicist.
Jessica Says: Having a mentor can pay off in the long run. They have gone through everything you are about to go through which makes it very advantageous to have someone in your life like that.
Explore the different aspects of PR
There are many realms within public relations. Some may enjoy the boutique and agency side of things, while other may enjoy working in house or freelance. Internships are a great way to get a taste of which realm of PR you’ll enjoy. Whether it be a fashion publicist for an agency or corporate communications, be open to trying new things. You will never know which one you’ll fall in love with.
Have thick skin
Everyday in this profession is not a glamorous walk in the park. Not all your pitches will be loved, and not everybody will respect the brand you’re representing. Rejection and criticism is very real in this industry. It is important to learn to brush things off and try again. Being told ‘no’ is just the beginning. You will get 1,000 “no’s” before you get that one yes you have been waiting on.
Antoinette says: You have to believe in yourself, your client and the brand you’re representing. Use the constructive feedback given to you to turn your weaknesses into strengths.
Always make room for “Me” time:
Unlike other careers, being a publicist is not a 9-5 job. Often times it requires your full attention regardless of the day, or time of the week. It is important to balance your work and personal time. Pamper yourself, relax, watch your favorite TV show; have some tea; hang out with friends; do anything you need to do to de-stress and avoid a burn out. This field can become quite overwhelming so it is important that you set time aside for yourself.
Jessica Says: It is easy to loose yourself in your work. Especially in a fast paced working environment such as this one, which makes it hard for you to have time for yourself. However, it is important to turn off the world around you, set boundaries and take care of you. If you are not at 100% you, cannot be 100% for the people around you.
Networking is key in the world of PR. It is extremely important to reach out and connect with other industry professionals via social media i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Join professional groups, attend conferences; great business relationships are created this way. Informational interviews are also a great way to network and meet potential employers or learn more about a specific field or industry you are interested in. Also don’t be afraid to ask questions, you’ll be surprised the number of people who would like to know the same information as you
Antoinette Says: What better way to find out how to get your dream job than to ask somebody who already has it. Step out of your comfort zone. Get out, be bold, and network. As they say “your network is your net worth”.
Have questions? Need more advice? Feel free to contact us anytime. We’d love to chat!
Antoinette Boachie, @Toniiantoinette and Jessica Moore, @JLMre
Antoinette and Jessica are currently interns with Sherri Jones Public Relations.