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4 Tips for Young PR Professionals

Young PR Professionals

Ours is an ultra-connected society. As such, every action a business or public figure makes can be spread across the globe in a matter of seconds. This can be in equal measure a benefit and a curse. To make the best of this, there is an increasing need for professionals who are skilled communicators, reputation managers, and problem solvers. This is where public relations (PR) professionals become valuable assets. Indeed, is it any wonder that the global PR industry revenue is expected to grow from $63.8 billion in 2018 to $93 billion by the end of 2022? 

One of the benefits of this continued growth is it offers exciting opportunities to build a career in the sector. But when you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to know how best to proceed. It’s a competitive industry, after all, and you need to make the most out of every experience.  

We’re going to explore a handful of positive areas you can focus on as you start your path as a PR professional.

Focus on Relationships

Your PR career will thrive based on the relationships you build. This applies to your ability to get your clients exposure on media channels and events. It can open opportunities for you to influence how your campaigns are promoted. Of course, if you build your own agency in the future, it can certainly affect your ability to find clients based on recommendations and reputation. As such, you must dedicate time to starting, developing, and maintaining relationships from the get-go.

Thankfully, our digital landscape provides ample opportunities to conveniently do this. Start using your social media channels to make connections with both fellow PR professionals and figures in the media — journalists, photographers, filmmakers. LinkedIn, in particular, is a vital resource for this professional networking. There are some dos and don’ts when networking on LinkedIn, so be sure to apply those to your profile. Yes, you should certainly maintain a professional focus, but you’ll find people are more receptive when you also add a personal touch to your communications. Making sure there is mutual benefit is important, too. Your connections will be stronger if you develop a consistent, long-term bond that is not transactional but built on genuine respect and interest.

Raise Your Profile

Visibility is a cornerstone of PR. It is often one of the primary goals of any campaign, to make sure the public maintains an awareness of your client and the positive elements they represent. You need to immediately take the same approach to your career. Make regular, consistent efforts to raise your profile in the industry. In some ways, it’s even helpful to think of your career as another campaign you’re handling. You have to manage your reputation in a way that highlights you as a valuable asset. 

One approach is to promote your accomplishments. Each successful campaign adds to your positive tally as a PR professional. You should therefore regularly update your hard copy and online resumes. This isn’t just a case of listing your skills or your work experience, it’s about effectively contextualizing and showcasing what you’ve achieved. Take time to format these to induce the greatest impact on the reader; write about the circumstances, the results, and, most importantly, what you brought to the table to make the results possible. 

Use your social media channels, too. Interact with the public and leaders in the industry about what you do and how you do it. You can just present yourself as another PR pro, but a developing expert in your field. It can even be smart to start your own podcast or produce videos where you discuss your methods and potentially your journey. Keep engaging with the public and the industry. 

Keep Educating Yourself

Like so many others, the PR industry is frequently changing and growing. In the past decade or so, professionals’ have had to navigate social media, adopt new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), and adjust to methods that capitalize on search engine optimization (SEO) to draw traffic. The landscape is unlikely to stop developing, so you need to commit to your continued education.  

This doesn’t just mean staying ahead of the technological curve. It also involves developing skill sets to make you an agile contributor to campaigns. You can offer clients and employers more if you gain some experience in PR adjacent areas like journalism and graphic design. Some tech abilities, like web design and coding, can be particularly useful if you intend to run your own PR firm and will need to build sites and maintain pages for clients at short notice. 

Alongside skills education, you must stay on the lookout for potential mentors. We’ve covered a little about how important relationships can be, and this is certainly one of the most beneficial. A mentor can provide you with practical advice that will help you to swiftly build your PR skillset in your early days. They’ll also be a vital source of experience throughout your career, a trusted colleague to discuss your concerns and ideas with.  

Exercise Creativity

A key benefit of a PR career is it’s not a stuffy, administrative-only position. Few days will see you perform the same tasks in quite the same way. The world and the public are constantly changing. Your best preparation and response to this is by frequently exercising your creativity.  

This isn’t limited to utilizing your artistic talents or writing eloquent releases. It’s more about how you think while you’re on the job. It’s difficult to gain the attention of the public or get your client’s message heard if you’re doing the same things as everybody else in the industry. Get used to thinking outside of the box. Put together resources for campaigns that haven’t often been explored — different types of social media influencers, unusual partnerships with other brands. Don’t be put off by challenges, but find novel ways to navigate them. This isn’t always easy, and it also takes some knowledge of when to exercise restraint (your creative decisions still need to make sense in the context), but cultivating this will benefit you throughout your career.

Conclusion

The public relations industry is rarely dull, and this is an exciting time to embark on a career in the field. By focusing on relationships and forging a solid reputation you can build a good foundation. Your efforts to keep learning and cultivate a creative mindset will also make sure you are an asset now and in the future.  

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