Six months ago I confidentially strode across a stage and collected my diploma. While I now possess a piece of paper that claims I’ve learned, I definitely didn’t stop learning after graduating. After several months working for a public relations agency, here’s what PR is teaching me.
Relationships are Key
Public relations is an industry focused on relationships. These can take many forms, whether between PR professionals and businesses or with members of the media. In order to be successful at PR you have to constantly be putting yourself in other’s shoes and looking at concepts from a wide range of perspectives.
Make Use of Resources + Ask Questions
Resourcefulness is valuable, especially when it comes to problem solving and research. The internet doesn’t have every answer, but it has quite a few. PR is teaching me that using the information I have at my fingertips is crucial.
Using resources also encourages continued learning. Organizations like the PRSA are a great tool. At A.wordsmith we listen to one of their webinars per month. The PRSA webinars cover everything from Snapchat to crafting effective pitches.
As mentioned, resources are plentiful and useful, but they have their limits. I’ve learned the importance of asking questions. Use others’ experience and knowledge as a resource. Gathering as much information up front as possible saves time and energy down the road.
Read, read, read and READ
Most people will tell you that writing is a central skill in PR, and this is true. However, I’ve learned reading is essential as well. Reading public relations news sites like Ragan’ PR Daily, or PR Week or Bulldog Reporter has helped me learn about the industry, current events and trends.
Public relations is about telling stories. One of the best ways to become a better storyteller is to read well-told stories. Whether its news articles, industry specific blogs or thought leadership interviews—reading quality writing helps you produce quality content.
Learn by Doing
Finally, PR has taught me that one of the best ways to learn is by doing. Looking over the past few months in a professional position, the points where I felt like I learned the most where when I was assigned a task I had never tried before. Don’t be afraid to say “yes” to attempting things that stretch you. If you succeed, it’ll be an added boost of confidence. If you don’t get it right the first time, ask for feedback and adjust. In trying new things you may surprise yourself and find you have a knack for something new.