I’m often asked: “How do I break into public relations?”
And no wonder. Public relations is great because it’s a versatile profession. Think about it: Public relations covers everything from fashion to health care, sports to entertainment, and of course, technology. That’s Blurb’s foundation: a technology platform for self-publishing.
It’s an exciting time to be pursuing a career in the communications field. Public relations is now recognized as a valued business discipline that companies can’t do without. It’s also because the media has been rapidly redefined in ways that few predicted. Traditional and digital channels intersect online, and broadcast outlets continue to diversify. The work is fascinating because it is always changing or gaining ground.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in public relations, there are some key ways to prepare:
1. Have a passion for writing
From the old practice producing press releases back to the current practice of generating news stories and content for your company, writing skills are a must in Communications. You will also have the opportunity to develop key messaging to promote your company and the brand, and take those messages to social channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and your company blog. If you work closely with the executive team, you’ll be able to pitch bylined articles to a variety of media outlets. (Examples of Blurb press releases can be found here.)
2. Be Positive
A positive attitude goes a long way. Are you comfortable making “cold calls” to folks in the media? How about making presentations, both inside the company and at trade shows and conferences? Do you enjoy selling your company and product offerings? You need to be good with all that.
3. Build Relationships
In PR, you have to work many angles with external and internal audiences. Build external relationships with media, stakeholders and public relations peers, along with internal marketing and management teams. Constantly sell your company to the outside, and yourself to the inside! Whatever you do, be sure to network. And then network some more.
A side note: developing thick skin is crucial as the downside of proactive pitching is the reality of potential rejection. Last summer, the positivity and relationships paid off: I pitched the editor of Haute Living for a piece on Blurb founder Eileen Gittins called “What’s on my desk?” The editor loved the story and it ran in the September issue.
4. Land a PR internship
An important way to get your foot inside that proverbial door is to explore company internships. The reason is simple: It prepares you for what you’ll face in an agency or in-house PR environment. Working in a fast-paced environment where you’re multitasking with various internal teams, assisting on events, and of course, writing, is both fun and rewarding—but it’s hard work. There’s nothing like on-the-job experience to build your resume and get the experience you need. Do more than one internship, if you can. They’re a great way to get in on the ground floor, work hard, and prove yourself. It will pay off!