Someone reminded me earlier today about a blog post I wrote three years ago while working at Speed Communications on a list of tips for people just getting into PR that could help them learn their jobs faster and get ahead.
I dug them out, thinking a load would need updating given how much PR has changed since 2010. But in my opinion, all of them remain equally valid today.
All I’d change is that while being on top of the daily news agenda remains crucial, being able to take advantage of new ways of understanding audiences in-depth, on any scale from global to hyperlocal, is becoming ever-more important. So PR folk should be getting their hands on any and all information to help them do their jobs better in that area too.
Another point is that today you probably need to be even more conscious of how PR’s remit is expanding than you were three years ago. That’s pretty obvious though, and something that I’m hamering home all the time as part of our work at Zeno.
And finally - these days news aggregation services can help to give that first blast of what’s happening in the world each morning – although nothing can truly replace the Today Programme, can it?..
Anyway, here’s the original post again.
30 ways to survive and thrive in PR today
I’ve been inspired to share some stuff I talked (nicely) through internally recently. It’s a list of 10 things that PRs should do consistently for their three masters: clients, media/client audiences and their own bosses. Not because it will get them a job in the first place, but because it will help make their jobs sustainable and help their careers to progress faster.
These are a mixture of tips picked up over the years, others’ views and plain old fashioned personal whims, so please take them in the (helpful) spirit in which they’re intended. Some are a little contentious so do leave comments if you disagree.
Clients: being on the ball
1. Progress something for every client every day: proactivity is mandatory
2. Shield your arse in steel: document everything accurately
3. Determine your responsibilities and make a name for yourself with them
4. Call every client every day, and surprise them as well as satisfy them
5. Think about the ‘evidence’ of results: make it clear and compelling
6. Find out what matters to them about their job, then help them do it
7. Get intimate with their budget cycles and approvals
8. Become a known-name on the client side: web, email, verbal
9. Think about/develop plans before they ask you
10.You’re an adviser, so underline that: use words like ‘advise’ and ‘recommend’, and offer an alternative if you say no
Media: exploiting every opportunity
1. Listen to a radio news programme when you’re getting dressed
2. Read/listen to news on the way in to work: know three stories each day
3. Get yourself known by every core target journalist/blogger for your clients (max 25)
4. Read and exploit all the media/sections you’re targeting for your clients
5. Understand how journalists work and what they want
6. Learn to write like a journalist
7. Pitch your content in less than 25 words
8. Blog/tweet about media changes and interesting stories
9. Read/watch some media at the weekend, learn about a new one weekly
10.Get to grips with new techniques for evaluating publicity
And your employer: basic career development
1. Get in before your start time: not to be a slave, but to prepare
2. Do your timesheets on time
3. Look and act like you actually want to work there
4. Contribute your ideas and comments to discussions
5. Get to know people from across the industry
6. Check your email/voicemail when you’re out and take your mobile everywhere
7. Use your mouth (otherwise you’re just a person sat at a desk typing)
8. Do things before the deadline
9. Tell your line manager when you’ve done something towards your goals
10.Offer to take work off others if they’re struggling to get it done
I deliberately avoided spelling out conventional and social media references in the second section because it encompasses all media and applies equally to all kinds. And I didn’t want to make myself look like someone who thinks it’s big and clever to slip the words social and media into every bleedin’ sentence.
Equally, this is not particularly modern advice: most could have applied to PR jobs in 1990.