Posts Taged public-relations-2

3 Ways Glossier is Owning their Strategic Communications

Working in office situation

Working in the field of PR and communications, it’s interesting and refreshing to observe companies who “get it”. I have to admit to personally being a fan of Glossier and their products – but their smart approach to thought leadership, communications and social media is equally as engaging from a business perspective. Glossier effortlessly and expertly weaves together all the elements that support strategic communications – and as someone that falls directly into their customer target, I can tell you it’s working.

Glossier CEO and Founder Emily Weiss started the company after years of running a highly successful beauty blog called Into the Gloss. The blog was built around interviews with women from all walks of life, providing peeks into their beauty routines and products. Eventually, Weiss saw a gap in the beauty industry and created her own products that she felt would best appeal to what her readers were missing.

Emily Weiss, photo credit: Entrepreneur

Emily Weiss, photo credit: Entrepreneur

Elevating their leader

Weiss had a thought leadership advantage with Into the Gloss – she’d already established herself as an industry expert before she launched any products.  Into the Gloss still plays a crucial role in Weiss and Glossier’s thought leadership. The blog is fully established as a stand-alone expert source referring readers to a wide range of products, from beauty store moisturizers to exotic skin serums.  While Into the Gloss is closely tied to the Glossier brand, I’m often surprised how little they push their own products, obviously being conscious of being over “sales-y”.

Weiss’s thought leadership is not limited to the realms of make-up and self-care. She presents herself as a business thought leader as well. She’s established herself as an expert on building a socially driven beauty brand as well as a successful woman entrepreneur who secured $24 million in B series funding last November. Weiss frequently posts about speaking engagements, business events she attends.

Finally, Glossier’s thought leadership includes multiple members of their staff recognizing their value and influence in the company’s success. While Weiss is the face of the company, Into the Gloss and their social channels regularly feature the different areas of their team, from IT to product development to administration.

Social, Social, Social.

Glossier’s social media is a case study for everything social can be. It’s valuable and engaging, attractive and pristinely branded. While it may look effortless, it’s clearly methodical and well-planned.

They’re Instagram story experts – whether giving an inside look into the office or creating mini-videos about different products.  Users are engaged with reoccurring posts such as #wallpaperfridays where Glossier features a new image followers can screen cap for personal use. The images always fit within the overall branding.

Glossier makes use of user generated content and routinely quotes customer feedback. Weiss is quoted in a Fast Company article saying: “We think of things from a content perspective: How would this show up in a user-generated photo?” Smart.  User generated content not only builds rapport with customers (most millennial users love having their photo shared with 690,000 people), but also demonstrates how willing their customers are to share their involvement with the brand. Glossier’s social channels feature photos and videos of customers using their products.

glossier insta 2Glossier insta1

Killer Content (visual and copy)

Glossier’s brand voice is conversational and witty. Their website reads like a conversation you would have with your confident, takes-no-BS best friend. In an interview with Tech Crunch, Weiss said Glossier approaches content as talking to a customer as one would text a friend. This approach is evident everywhere – from social media to product descriptions.

Here’s some examples of their website copy.

“We Make Emails: “We do this thing where we send email updates on stuff you’ll probably want to know about: new products, Into The Gloss posts, promos, and parties. Unsubscribe anytime.”

Balm Dot Com product description: “Opt for Original, or choose from five mood-enhancing flavors: Birthday (inspired by Milk Bar’s famous cake, with subtle shimmer), Rose (with a barely-there pink tint), Cherry (with a sheer, juicy red tint), Mint, and Coconut. The lip-smacking 11-year-old in you is freaking out right now. Collect them all!”

Glossier describes themselves perfectly with this description: “We’re the beauty brand that wants to be friends with you—mostly because we’re not so much a brand as we are real people over here just trying to rethink the beauty industry and have a good time doing it.”

Glossier, I want to be your friend too.

 

Can PR Be Automated?

Can PR Be Automated?

As politicians bicker about job growth and immigration, it’s become increasingly clear that the real threat to our current economic and social structure is automation and robotization. In the wake of this realization, workers around the world are asking the question: Will I be replaced by a machine?

Can PR Be Automated?

In PR, the answer is not immediately obvious. We’ve seen an increase in prospective clients in search of systematic PR results. They expect PR work and thought leadership messaging to produce immediate, specific results in the form of business leads, controlled media placements and calculable profits. Though these demands partially represent the public’s general confusion about the difference between PR and marketing, they also reflect the conviction that anything can be turned into data. The A.wordsmith team is confident in our ability to deliver on certain metrics and prepared to outline strategic goals for our clients. Nevertheless, much of our work remains subjective and qualitative.

That’s good news for the PR industry, which is at relatively low risk of being replaced by robots anytime soon. This is according to a team of researchers at Oxford University that analyzed the world labor market and determined how likely various fields and industries are to be replaced. They found that likelihood most highly correlated with the need for workers to

  • Come up with clever solutions
  • Personally help others
  • Negotiate
  • Squeeze into small spaces
Can PR be automated?

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Some of the findings are fairly predictable — a preschool teacher, for example, is only 0.7% likely to be replaced by a robot, while telemarketers have 99% chance of being substituted. Public relations professionals have only a 17.5 percent chance of being replaced. Though we tend not to spend much time in crawl spaces, this scoring process does highlight some of the unique strengths of PR that often go unrecognized or misunderstood by our clients.

PR is all about relationships

It seems obvious, but our success is contingent on our ability to maintain positive relationships with clients, the media, the public and our peers. PR is a service industry, and we dedicate time to maintaining strong relationships with our clients, many of whom need education guidance in the communications process. No algorithm can substitute the value of strong personal media connections, nor can it replace a candid, personable connection with consumers and the general public. Finally, we’re all about enhancing your relationship with the public — that is, after all, our title.

Creativity is an integral part of our work

Skilled PR work requires mastery of creative thinking and expression. We’re trained as versatile writers, because if we can’t tell a message well, our outreach and content will fall flat. Campaigns require creative thinking. Sloppy pitches are a non-option, and thought leadership experts are also often responsible for crafting articles, blogs, POVs and white papers. We’re creating content, concepts and even art, and machines just aren’t there yet.

PR is guided by opinions, not facts

We’re managing images and reputations, which by definition can’t be calculated. When we do research, our best discoveries come from qualitative findings: surveys, focus groups and investigative research into industries and relationships are the most productive for our purposes. We’ll keep on top of clicks and views, but public opinion is determined by emotions and perceptions, and that’s hard to robotize.

All this said, we shouldn’t get smug. The technology we use today was unimaginable a decade ago — there’s no telling where we’ll be in another ten.

Dark Social: Digital Word of Mouth

Cellars

“Dark social” isn’t as malicious as it sounds. The term was coined by Alexis Madrigal in an article for The Atlantic in 2012 to describe the sharing of information in emails and instant messengers – sharing that existed long before social media platforms were popular. Social media ROI is getting easier to measure, but dark social is more difficult. And it accounts for a huge portion of the referrals your website is probably getting.

When looking through your Google Analytics, you probably notice a large chunk of the referrals are listed in the “direct traffic” category. These hits can come from a variety of behind-the-scenes sources; a link shared through text, email, native mobile apps (like Facebook’s), messengers, Slack messages, Snapchat, and someone using a secure HTTPS browser all fall in this bucket. It’s word of mouth on the internet, but not the kind you can track easily through Facebook Insights.

The Struggle for Social Media Strategists

While it’s great to have so many avenues for your content to be shared, dark social adds to the struggle for social media teams in proving the value of what they do. If you can’t specifically show that these direct traffic hits are from people copying and sharing a link you put on Facebook, it’s tough to show true ROI. Social media marketers are under a lot of pressure to show concrete metrics, which is sometimes next to impossible. There’s no real way to say “yes, all of these direct traffic hits were from text messages sent in this market.”

texting

Dark social can also make optimizing content tough. Without knowing how the content is being shared specifically, marketers can’t design it for those platforms. These shares are likely hitting demographics that may not be on other social channels, like the 55 and older age group. When you can’t pin down the audience and the channel, it’s difficult to be strategic.

Shining the Light on Dark Social

So, what can PR pros and marketers do about dark social? Here’s a few things to focus on to get a better handle on this type of sharing:

  • Use Google Analytics’ customer URL builder. This can help with proving that your social sharing is driving dark social communication, and which posts are bringing in the most referrals. No matter where the link is clicked from, you’ll be able to see that it was that specific link you created for your latest Facebook post that brought visitors to the website.

 

google analytics

  • Invest in a tool made for dark social tracking, like st by Radium One.
  • Make shareable content a priority. Even when it’s hard to track, dark social is still sharing of your content. Make sure your social posts are shareable – find the emotional connection, keep text short, and include visuals whenever possible. You might not be able to optimize it for a Snapchat message, but you can still focus on creating content that resonates with your audience, no matter where they are.

4 Considerations for Contributed Content

Contributed content blog

Cision named contributor marketing as one of the top trends for 2017.  Contributed content is an incredibly useful tool for PR pros—whether you’re looking to raise the profile of your client or your agency. Contributed marketing is creating content then pitching it to appropriate outlets.  The demand for content is rapidly increasing. The Atlantic reported that “The New York Times publishes about 230 pieces of content—stories, graphics, interactives, and blog posts—daily. This number has risen by more than 35 percent this decade.” An increasing number media outlets are turning to contributors for content on their sites. Below are some things to consider when contributing content and some potential beneficial outcomes.

1. Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle Content

Work smarter, not harder. Many companies have their own blog (like the one you’re currently reading) with quality content. Re-using this material is beneficial in two ways. First, it saves you time. If your company blog content is strong, there’s no need to spend the time and energy wracking your brain for new topics. Spending time updating and polishing a blog post is easier than starting from scratch. Secondly, refurbished blogs that are posted elsewhere often point back to the original blog site. This can draw readers back to the first site and result in increased visits.

2. Establish yourself as thought leader + target online outlets

What expertise can you or your clients share? Craft this know-how into blog or article form and offer it to specialized publications. Many outlets have online sites that churn out an incredible volume of content—and also receive considerable viewership on their site. Most will also post recently published articles on social media platforms—another way to reach a larger audience.  CIO outlines some characteristics that indicate strong potential for contributor marketing including:  industries with cycles of innovation, customer problems, specialized information or an established online presence.

collaboration contributed content

3. Collaborate

We say it over and over: PR and earned media is about relationships. Contributed content is a great way to develop them. Bloggers are always on the search for fresh content and ways to draw readers to their site. Guest blogging and collaborating with like-minded, knowledgeable people is mutually beneficial. If the contributed post is successful on their site it’s possible that an established relationship will develop.

4. Research

The only caveat with guest blogging is ensuring the site you’re partnering with is legitimate. No one wants to read an a post (regardless of content quality) on a spammy sight with multiple obnoxious pop-up ads. Take the time to research different outlets to target the best platform for your content. Think about the target audience of each platform and who you’re striving to reach with your content. Do the two match up?

Hopefully these suggestions can help you move forward with a successful contributed content marketing strategy in 2017.

How to tie your social media strategy to your SEO

social media and seo

Public relations and marketing professionals have learned over the last few years that they can’t exist in silos and get exceptional results for their brands. Integrated strategies are vital for success. PR and marketing live in different sandboxes, but they have to learn how to play well together. This is particularly clear with the relationship between social media and SEO. These two areas can and do exist separately, but when paired together can produce stronger results for both teams.

Both social media and SEO are part of a long-term strategy. You might not get a million followers or a hundred new links within a month, but with the right foundation, these strategies can bolster your brand reputation and bring in new customers and leads. Together, these two tools can expand and strengthen the “touch points” where your customer interacts with your brand. With enough “touches” over time, you can create dedicated and repeat customers. Here are three tips for tying your social media strategy to your SEO plan.

Choose the right platforms, get them on brand, and update regularly

You don’t have to be on every single social media platform, but the ones you have add links to your online presence. Choose the ones that are right for your brand and focus on doing those platforms well. Make sure your content is planned out and integrated into your overall communications strategy. Update each platform regularly and with content targeted to your specific audiences on each channel. Facebook is different than LinkedIn, and LinkedIn is different than Pinterest, so be sure to craft and fine tune content for each. Be sure that the branding, logos, and overall tone of voice match across each platform. When someone Googles your company, they may click the Facebook link rather than your website link; be sure they get the same story and message (just honed for Facebook etiquette) that they would from your homepage.

Create shareable and engaging content

With social media, crafting and posting your content is step one. Step two is getting engagement, shares, and mentions from your followers – and in turn, boosted SEO results. The more people publicly share your content, the more links and mentions are available for your brand, which helps boost your reputation with search engines. To get your followers to share your content, it needs to be right for the platform, relatable, and well crafted. Sharing content on social media as an individual is often an endorsement of the thoughts and ideas within – it has to be great for your followers to associate with it. Posts that are short and succinct and include a photo or video are more shareable. It also helps if your content is tied into current social media and pop culture trends that are relevant to your brand.

Use your keywords on social

Though there have been changes in the way SEO works, a good portion of it comes back to the keywords you want to be tied to and optimizing your content with these keywords. This is also true on social media; you want your posts to be searchable by the keywords your brand is focusing on. Once you have a solid idea of the keywords your SEO campaign is targeting, find authentic ways to work them in to your social media content. This is particularly helpful on Pinterest and YouTube, where users are often searching for new content by keywords. It can also work on Facebook and Twitter, especially if your pages are well done and have a good reputation with search engines.

Authenticity and PR

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You’ll often hear that public relations is an industry built on relationships. This is true, but there is an added element that goes hand-in-hand with relationships—authenticity.

In an age of curated social media posts (#blessed) and glossy corporate stories sans reference to long hours and employee burnout, consumers are left feeling dubious and duped. Instead of connecting to the brand or business, they are left wondering if what they’re observing is real—and oftentimes it’s not.

People want passion, struggle and relatable content. Storytelling in communications provides the perfect example for the importance of authentic communication. A story is one of the most common ways humans connect, hence its popularity among PR pros. The elements of a story are important: the hero, their obstacle and their solution are essential to drawing the reader in. However, who tells the story and how they tell it can have a big impact on the authenticity.

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Who’s telling the story?

The storyteller is often the one responsible for how the story is perceived. If there is misalignment between the storyteller’s voice or personality and the story they’re sharing, it’s glaringly obvious to listeners.

One example of this in PR is influencer marketing. Edelman’s 2017 Digital Trends report focused on the trend of influencer marketing. Influencers and those who are highly visible on social platforms often have a distinct voice and personalized connection with their followers which makes them optimal story-sharers. However, scripted and impersonal language can derail an influencer’s ability to connect with their followers.  Consumers are smart enough to recognize what is forced and what is real.

How are they telling it?

An element that is often passed over in storytelling is the “struggle” aspect that resides between the problem and the solution. This is what’s real and real is what matters! Don’t leave out the hard stuff because of concern that it doesn’t position the brand in a positive light.

This quote from a MarketingLand article sums it up perfectly, “The world is hungry for more truth, realness and transparency. Social media platforms are enabling our consumers to express their authentic selves — and they expect the same from the brands they choose.”

Next time you are crafting a story, consider who is telling it and how they’re doing so. It’s these (sometimes) intangible things that make the difference between authenticity and inauthentic content.

 

 

Let it go: don’t worry about control on social media

brand voice social media

Brands put a lot of work into fine tuning their voice, and can understandably be protective of their image. Companies want their audience to talk about them a certain way, and marketing, advertising, and public relations all work together in the hopes of achieving positive buzz and brand loyalty. However, brands often have trouble getting their social media platforms to “play nice” and stay in control. The conversation on social media is tough to control, but brands should embrace this fact rather than fear it.

Social media channels don’t function the same way an advertising piece does, where the content is tightly controlled and distributed. You can put in hours of work into a piece of content, just to have it turn into an unflattering, viral meme. Social media moves quickly, and brands can struggle to keep up. However, companies shouldn’t bail on social media entirely or resort to a corporate, sterile voice on these platforms. Instead, brands should jump into the deep end with both feet and utilize social media platforms for what they are – customer experience tools, not a brand megaphone.

Plan, and then let it go

Social media still requires planning and knowing your brand voice inside and out before starting to post. Companies should make sure their brand voice and image is unified across all the channels they’ll be using, and have a set of guidelines in place for tone and style for whoever will be posting on their behalf. Know what your brand would say and would never dream of saying before beginning. Make sure posts are edited before going live.

Once the content is out there, it’s in the hands of your audience. Brands must be ready to “let it go” to a certain extent after this point, as the engagement that happens may not be what you expect. Whatever the response is, take it and run with it rather than try to change it. It’s bad practice to delete negative comments; instead, use them as a customer service opportunity (or a humor opportunity, if it’s right for your brand and the complaint being made). Engage with the positive responses too, and shine a spotlight on the users responding. In some cases, you can even take advantage of user generated content in response to what you post. It might not be the quality or style your marketing department would have chosen, but it makes an authentic connection with your audience, something an ad rarely does.

Choose transparency over control

The days of “no comment” in response to a crisis are long gone thanks to social media. Social media users have no tolerance for slow responses, no response, or robotic corporate responses. When a brand crisis arises, it will be talked about on social media. No matter how appealing it can be to state “no response” or stay quiet until you’ve had ample time to come up with a polished statement, this is rarely the right choice.

While having a few days to think and present a response spears to give a company the chance to get a handle on the situation, they’re losing valuable time with an audience that is already discussing it. Transparency is far more important than an illusion of control on social media. Sometimes it’s even fine for a company to say “we’re aware, and we’re taking some time to collect our thoughts” rather than avoid posting for a few days and then attempt to look like they were always in control. Honesty with your audience (and even admitting you were blindsided) can go a long way with social media users.

Social media is a PR tool, not a marketing one

Marketing and public relations departments must work together to achieve success for the brand, and social media is no different. However, given the inherent lack of control with social media, PR professionals are better positioned to drive these efforts. Public relations is a two-way conversation, as is social media. Marketing is a brand megaphone; great in certain circumstances, but not really a fit for social media. Social media users have an extremely low tolerance for ads, and have high expectations for authentic communication from the brands they follow.

Public relations should work with marketing to ensure that the brand voice on social media is up to par, but marketing should be comfortable with PR leading social and communicating with their audience without several rounds of content approval. Conversations on social happen at the speed of light, and the key to success on these channels is listening and jumping in quickly. When a brand remembers that social is more about their audience than their company, they’ll be able to stay on top of conversations while getting comfortable with letting go of control. The rewards of social media can be numerous when brands let go – for both companies and their audience.

How Can PR Combat Fake News?

HOW CAN PR COMBAT FAKE NEWS?

On Sunday, December 4, a man carrying an assault rifle walked into a family-friendly pizza shop in Washington D.C. and fired. He was there to “self-investigate” a disgraceful conspiracy theory that accused Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, of running a child sex slave operation out of the pizzeria. Instigated by a false news article, the story had spread via social media several weeks before. The restaurant’s owner, its employees, and even their children had already been subjected to death threats and online harassment in recent weeks.

A media and culture crisis

This terrifying incident is only the latest crisis fueled by fake news sites and online rumor mills. The untrue, vile abuse story and the social media users who perpetuated it are a tiny piece of a much larger problem plaguing our media and our culture. With the proliferation of fake news sites during the 2016 presidential election, politicians and pundits are despairing at the possibility of a “post-factual world,” – and wondering what role legitimate media outlets can play in combating it.

HOW CAN PR COMBAT FAKE NEWS?

How PR can combat fake news?

The implications for PR are vast. In addition to the stupefied media, this issue has created a whole new kind of brand disaster – one beyond the experience of even seasoned crisis managers. How can we protect a neighborhood pizza shop whose online reviews include such slander as “They rape children” and “Shady cover up going on here. INVESTIGATE. INVESTIGATE. INVESTIGATE. shut em down ppl!”?

So how can PR combat fake news? Here are a few takeaways that businesses and their PR teams should keep in mind.

  1. Trust in the media is at a record low, and it is getting lower. Ensure that you and your clients are represented honestly and transparently in traditional outlets. Be prepared to argue your case in other ways, like social media and community advocates.
  2. Be vigilant in monitoring your social media and online presence. When a false story is written, time is of the essence. Contact legitimate media outlets, and ensure that customers know that the story is false. In addition, alert news aggregators and curators like Google and Facebook, who are under increasing pressure to stop false news.
  3. Take extra care to work only with legitimate news sources. Efforts to benefit from false news sites will certainly come around to bite you in the rear end.
  4. Avoid picking fights with trolls and online commenters.
  5. Don’t participate in the sharing or spreading of false news, in business or your personal life. It reflects poorly on you and your brand and perpetuates a major social ill.

 

This contagion will continue to assault our culture, our politics, and our public safety. Do your part in stopping the spread of these lies, and take precautionary measures to protect your interests. You never know who will be the next victim.

 

A version of this article was published on Spin Sucks.

What Public Relations Professionals Can Be Thankful For This Year

thanskgiving public relations

For Americans, November is often considered a month of thankfulness. We’re thankful we get a day or two off work for Thanksgiving, we’re thankful to see family and friends, and we’re thankful to have the opportunity to over-indulge on comfort food while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and remember what we have to be grateful for while we look ahead to the new year.

For me, this extends to my career in public relations. The last year has provided a lot for PR pros to be thankful for amidst a sea of changes that will mean big things for the field in 2017. Here’s the three things I’m thankful for this year as public relations professional.

The Shift to “Micro”

Not too long ago, social media programs were seen as successful when you’d amassed thousands or millions of followers on each channel. It was a way to prove reach, and thus usefulness. This made it hard for smaller businesses to justify social media programs. Now, we’ve come to learn that having a ton followers doesn’t mean, well, much of anything. Especially with Facebook’s ever changing algorithm, followers don’t always translate to reach. The name of the game is now engagement.

Garnering authentic engagement from the followers you do have is proving to be much more worthwhile. “Micro” influencers in your industry, who may not have one million followers on Instagram, are a useful tool in reaching your target audience and creating engagement. As a public relations pro, this opens the door to creativity. When we’re not focused on creating messages for the masses and instead considering the individual, we can craft compelling, personal experiences that leave a lasting impression.

Work Life Balance

The “Mad Men” era of public relations and advertising is finally beginning to fall away. PR, marketing, and advertising used to be known as fields that dominated your lifestyle and required insane hours. Thankfully, this attitude is changing, and work-life balance is becoming an integral part of agency culture.

With the new Department of Labor overtime rules going into place December 1st, PR agencies that relied on a “churn and burn” culture among junior level staff will need to change course by either raising their pay, or paying overtime for those all-day-Saturday work days. PR still isn’t necessarily a 9 to 5 job (crises don’t happen on a schedule), but flexibility is now desired.  Quite a few agencies, especially those led by women, have already begun fostering a culture that encourages time away from the office and productivity over 80-hour work weeks. I’m thankful to work at A.wordsmith, where we prioritize hard work, but also time for our families and ourselves.

Snapchat Spectacles

Virtual reality in daily life might be commonplace in the next few decades, but we’re not there quite yet. However, 2016 made major strides toward this future, my favorite of which has been Snapchat’s launch of Spectacles.

Spectacles have been referred to as a cooler version of Google Glass, even if they’re not quite as extensive. The sunglasses come in colors and a shape that are right on fashion trends, and let wearers Snap “from their eyes” instead of their phones. When saved to the Memories feature on Snapchat, users can relive events in their life as they saw them before, rather than through a picture or video. There’s some privacy concerns with Spectacles, and they probably won’t do away with selfie culture, but the sunglasses could mean exciting things for how brands use social media and how important video will be in public relations plans. I’m thankful to be in an industry that will only become more important as we head into the future of digital.

I’ll be even more thankful if the Spectacles Bot vending machine decides to make an appearance in Portland so I can snag a pair.

What My Public Relations Degree Didn’t Teach Me

public relations degree

Part one of a mini-series on education and being a millennial in the world of PR, from some of our young professionals at A.wordsmith.

In 2014, I graduated with my master’s degree in public communication and finally headed out into the “real world.” Since I basically went straight from my undergraduate studies to my graduate program, I hadn’t yet had my true introduction to the public relations field. I was armed with a lot of knowledge, research, and some experience with in-house PR departments, and eager to apply what I’d spent the past six years of my life studying.

However, in the past two years, I’ve discovered that there are some things about being a PR professional that college just didn’t teach me. I had the public relations degree, theoretical background, the critical thinking skills, and the writing ability, but I wasn’t prepared for some of the important facets of PR that school couldn’t provide a lesson plan for. Most PR professionals learn a lot as they go, and continue to learn throughout their career, so I know I’m not alone. However, I’d like to share the top three things my college education didn’t teach me to help other new PR pros get a head start:

No one knows what PR is

public relations degree

You will quickly discover that no one will understand what you do when you say “I work in public relations.” It seems super obvious to us, because we’ve spent our college life immersed in the industry and worked with professors who have years of experience. Your family won’t quite get it and occasionally even the clients you work with may even be confused by what you do. Early on, practice an elevator pitch that describes what public relations is and what you do for work. If you don’t understand what you do well enough to describe it at fifth grade level to others, you probably don’t know the PR field well enough. Creating this elevator pitch is a good exercise to highlight what you’d like to know more about yourself.

Quality wins over quantity

As a new professional fresh out of school, you probably have dreams of your clients appearing in the New York Times, Good Morning America, and Vogue –all in the same month! PR is all about the big wins and the glam, right? Well, not always. Hang on to these goals, because (for the right clients) they’re great long term ideas. However, you will quickly find these are stretch goals for even well-known companies. Most of your wins will come in the form of local news and industry outlets. Outlets you’d never heard of previously will soon become a source of excitement for you when your client is mentioned in them after a month-long conversation with an editor. These publications are often targeted more specifically to your client’s audience than large national outlets and get the content in front of the right people. It’s also often better to get one, well placed piece than a bunch of mentions in outlets that aren’t right for your client’s audience. Someday your client might be sitting down for an interview with Matt Lauer, but for now you’ll find plenty to be proud of when their article in your local newspaper goes live.

There’s not a template for this

While each class is different, much of college follows a similar format: come to class, take notes, complete your projects following the guidelines. Though there are certain ways of doing things in PR and sometimes you can follow a guide in certain documents (like press releases) ultimately, good PR doesn’t happen with a template. You won’t get very far using the same email pitch to every reporter you reach out to. Every pitch, project, and client deserves an individual strategy and considerations. Templates can be a starting point, but true PR happens when we work beyond the traditional format and take risks.

Look for part 2 of this series next week!