I made a big change this past January: I left PR to become a patient advocate. I knew I was entering an entirely new world, one that would be vastly different from the comfort of tech PR where I spent the [nearly] past 10 years of my working life.
But what I didn’t realize is just how much my PR career prepared me for my new endeavor. Here are my top 5 ways:
Everything in PR happens fast, and is frequently comprised of a number of moving pieces, so you need to have a system in place to keep yourself organized. I’ve seen colleagues come up with a slew of creative ideas, ranging from color coding emails to dedicating desk drawers or binders to individual clients. Whatever your organizational preferences, staying organized ensures you don’t overlook anything, keeping your clients and teams happy. Not to mention, staying on top of your assignments and providing top notch deliverables illustrates that you are both trustworthy and capable.
In addition to being organized, another factor that leads to success in PR is flexibility. I’m sure most of us can relate to the days when we need to make changes on the fly, or we’re presented with new – and urgent – priorities over the course of the day. The best way to keep a level head is to be flexible. Learn to reprioritize. I personally love having a to-do list (it’s one of the ways I stay organized), but I’ve learned to prevent myself from becoming bound to it. I need to ebb and flow with the tides of the day. Sometimes, there can be so many other things that spontaneously arise that seeing a single red line cross off one item on my to do list can be the mark of a successful day.
Within the first few weeks of entering the PR world, I was on the phone with clients to share my thoughts and ideas, and I pitched reporters at some of the nation’s top publications. What other industry allows entry-level practitioners to have such great opportunities with reporters and clients? Because of this, confidence is a must-have for anyone in PR. And part of that confidence is acknowledging when you don’t know the answer to a question, and taking the initiative to find the answer.
Persistence pays off
How many times do you email or call a reporter before they respond? Quite a bit, even when you have a relationship with them. And how many times are your ideas picked up for a story? Even if there is a relationship, you’re probably batting a pretty low average. But because you’re constantly following up, thinking of new angles or new ways to encourage the story to run, it makes it all worth it when you see your idea finally in ink – and you want to do it again.
Do your research
You need to understand who your client is, or what your company is selling, in order to create the appropriate pitch and identify the right targets. And the research doesn’t stop there. “Know your audience” is PR 101. You should tailor every pitch you send to make it most relevant to whomever will be reading or hearing it. And this golden rule extends to every element of any business in any industry, as well. Knowing who you’re talking to, what they may be interested in, what they may or may not already know about you and your company – these are just starting points to create strong relationships.
The PR world is a unique one, providing every level of PR practitioners with unparalleled opportunities to learn and grow. These are just five examples of some of the skills a career in PR can teach you that can be adapted and applied to any number of new situations you may find yourself in.
What else has your experience in PR equipped you with?