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7 Crucial Things Every PR Executive Must Do

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We’ve noticed a lot of new PR professionals entering the market – following us on Twitter, reaching out with resumes, etc. We’re excited to see that PR remains a growing industry (no, PR is not dead), and we thought we’d share a few tips for anyone in or entering a PR career in the Digital Age.

  • Spell Check – Please, oh please watch your spelling. PR involves a lot of writing and it’s crucial to show that you understand the need to always put your best face forward in your (or your clients’) content. When your Twitter bio has a typo… not good.
  • Thoughtfully Network – You might have heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” It still holds true, and in the Digital Age, networking is easier than ever – if you do it right. Pay attention, be resourceful, and expand your network by offering to help others, vs. asking just them for help when you need something from them. Take the time to seek out connections at live events – even if just to say hello and put a face with a name.
  • Invest Time – This can be challenging, especially for executives working at PR agencies, because agencies bill by the hour and therefore want as much time crammed into an hour as possible. This often lends itself to harried account executives rushing their work, not doing their homework, throwing out media pitches with no real direction, etc. These are oft-criticized practices of off-topic pitching, incorrect targeting and basically driving journalists mad by wasting their time. Ironically, it also wastes the PR agency’s time, and ultimately results in poor performance (think pitch to placement ratio, for example). Do your homework. Take the time to research journalists and their styles, pay attention to influencers and how they like to engage, find something in common to mention or comment on their work. Show them you have invested time into getting to know them, pay attention to what they do, and have a solid reason for reaching out.
  • Integrate - In order to ensure the longevity of the PR industry, it’s crucial that executives integrate with other areas of marketing, and sometimes even HR, customer service and sales. When PR promotes one message, but customer service or sales fails to uphold it, bad things happen. Integration of key messages across all divisions is vital when it comes to who your company is, what the culture is like, what you’re promising, etc. In addition, with social media as one of our main communications tools today, the integration of online and offline content is also important.
  • Be Honest – It might sound like an oxymoron, since so many people equate PR executives with spinmeisters, but honesty is always the best policy. Whether it’s dealing with a client and telling them, “No, that idea is not a good one,” or telling a journalist that you don’t have the answer to their question (but you will get it ASAP), be straight forward. A few reasons the PR industry gets so much flack is because PR executives make promises they (or their clients) can’t live up to, they avoid answering questions, or otherwise mislead people. Remember how your Mama always said one lie leads to another and another? Yeah - just, don’t. If you need more reasons to be honest, read this.
  • Learn Not To Take It Personally – PR is full of rejection. Whether it’s a new business pitch, a client saying no to your fantastic idea, or a journalist declining a meeting, you’ll hear a lot of “No.” If you’re lucky, it will be followed with a “, thanks.” You’ve got to have a thick spine to be in PR.
  • Measure Results - you knew we’d say this, didn’t you? The debate over whether or not PR is measureable has been a long and sordid one. There’s no reason today – with easy-to-use tools like SeeDepth and unprecedented access to data and insights – that you shouldn’t be consistently using PR analytics to measure success. If you’d like to learn more about why (and other ways how to) measure results, sign up for Katie Paine’s Measurement Advisor newsletter, or visit her Measurement blog. She’s long been touting the value in measuring results in PR.

PR is a great industry to work in. Yes, it’s full of pressure, but it’s not life or death. Simply follow a few common sense rules, and you’ll have a long and fruitful career. Perhaps you’ll even help change the face of a “dying” industry as it rebounds.

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