So I was getting my bi-annual teeth cleaning last week (ugh), and the hygienist asked me what I did for a living. That answer’s easy: public relations, I declared confidently. It was silent as she digested my answer… then came the dreaded question. “I may sound stupid,” she said, “but what is that?”
Public Relations isn’t an easy industry to describe; but no need to get depressed!
PR covers a wide variety of different activities, which is part of the beauty of the industry. But the Public Relations Society of America defines it as: “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” This is far more eloquent than how I described it to the hygienist, but she understood the gist of what PR is when I was finished.
Since then, I’ve been itching to figure out how to easily describe what PR is without giving a dictionary definition. From there, the Elle Wood Guide to PR was born.
Be ready to touch media lists, write press releases, monitor media mentions, attend interviews, pitch ideas, and give media training to clients. You are going to have to build relationships and maintain them while providing guidance to your clients to help spread news of their brand and product/service.
Practice your writing. Create your own blog; write a LinkedIn article; do anything you can to improve your skills. Get to know your clients’ language; dumb it down enough for the audience to understand, but keep enough information in there to still maintain brand standards. Push out the content to assist in brand recognition. Write, write, write!
Do you tweet? You should… as well as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, the list goes on and on. Social is the way of the future, and more and more clients are becoming interested in social media assistance. Do your research on best practices and monitor what performs best.
Some other tips:
You should absolutely know.
Don’t let your clients find out new trends before you do. Be the innovator and make suggestions. Don’t be afraid of going “too big.” Clients come to you for help for a reason. Strut your stuff.
But overall, stay positive.
PR is hard work. There are times when things are hectic, there are times when you leave work exhausted, confused, and ready for a glass of wine (or 3). But the work is extremely rewarding. Find joy in assisting your clients while having fun with your coworkers (especially through sending gifs on Slack).
Keep an eye for more PR tips and tricks via the O’Keeffe blog!