Fresh out of grad school in 2010, I stepped into the world of PR ready to show off all my new skills and my Gen-Y "can-do" attitude, while also fully petrified that someone would realize my confidence was masking the overwhelming fear that I may actually fail. Well, I haven't failed yet, but I've learned a lot of lessons on this incredible, albeit brief, journey to PR professionalism. That's coming from someone who came into this career being trained in social media marketing. So, I'm guessing people who came into their PR careers before social media existed - or even before the Internet was mainstream - well, they likely have received some great advice along the way.
So here's a round-up of the best advice we've ever received here at PAN, coming from interns fresh out of college, Vice Presidents with years of lessons learned and plenty of people in between.
- "Get personal: if you know of a reporter or influencer in your area, don’t hesitate to ask them for coffee to get to know them a bit better and ask them about upcoming story ideas/features they are working on. No time for a hard sell, but more to get to know them for a long term relationship." - Sarah Bruckner, APR, 8 years
- “If it’s going to take two minutes, do it now.” - Nicholas Porter, 4 years in PR
- "Always go to work with a chip on your shoulder - you have to go in there with an attitude." - Gene Carozza, 41 years
- "Research contacts so you can personalize pitches. It leads to higher response rate and can help secure a lasting relationship with that media contact." - Taylor Smith, 2.5 years
- "Great ideas can overcome the toughest challenges." - Adam Novak, 4.5 years
- "Don’t try to be anyone else or come across as someone you aren’t. I'm still trying to find me...'cause what I got ain't workin" - Jason Ouellette, 12 years
- "Don’t take anything in this business personally. People have their own interests to meet and everyone’s doing their best to meet them, so if something doesn’t go your way, it’s not a personal problem, it’s a professional problem. Big difference." - Adam Novak, 4.5 years
- "Think like a reporter when speaking to a reporter. Anticipate what questions they'll ask and what sources or bits of info they'll need to write their story." - Kim Leadley, 13 years
- "Kill them with kindness. People can try to belittle you or ruin your day. Just smile." Erin Lahey, .5 years
- "Practice courteous persistence." - Kim Leadley, 13 years
- "Don’t be hesitant to share your ideas. It’s possible that your client will love it. And if not, it’s no big deal – they’ll still appreciate your creativity and willingness to throw it out there." - Jenny Gardynski, 3 years
- "Always think about how it feels in the other person’s shoes – such as recalling how you would react to feedback from a manager when you were an associate or thinking about how you would interpret a measurement dashboard if you were a client. Always thinking about issues from the another person’s perspective informs your decisions and may even alter your approach for the better." - Lisa Astor, 11 years
- “You’re only as good as your last hit.” – Katelyn D'Eramo, 5 years
- "Be proactive and continue to think ahead to drive results for your clients." - Kyle Tildsley, 2.5 years
- “Whether it be with a journalist, client or boss - never burn a bridge. Always take the high road. We thrive on the emotions inherent in our profession, but we can’t allow emotions to dictate our actions.” - Jim Barbagallo, 28 years
- "Get your hands on anything and everything you possibly can while interning. Even if a project seems uninteresting or tedious, take it on and complete it to the best of your ability. Experience is the best teacher, and everything you get to touch throughout your internship will make you a better-informed practitioner in the long run." - Meaghan O'Toole, .5 years
- "It's PR not the ER. Yes, what we do is important, but we're not dealing with life or death situations. If you're in crisis mode or you make a mistake that seems like the end of the world, take a minute to breathe and attack the problem with the appropriate amount of urgency." - Meghan Daly, 5 years
- "Realize the best part of this job is that each and every day is different. It makes for an exciting, challenging and fun career. If today was terrible, tomorrow could be great and next week could be even better." – Katelyn D'Eramo, 5 years
- "Over communicate, but don't smother. To superiors, clients and all members on your team. It's a fine line between communicating too much and too little, but either way can have negative impact so it's important to find the balance. Too much and you may be that overbearing micro-manager, too little and you may have to explain to a client or superior why an opportunity was missed." - Marki Conway, 2.5 years
We've told you ours, now what's the best advice that you have ever received?