The following article was written by Mandy Vavrinak, writer for the “PR Beyond the Press Release.”
9 Signs you should be in PR
I was recently asked for an overview of what I do in PR by someone considering the field as a career. After looking at my reply, I thought it was the start of a good post. Since the real question wasn’t, “What do you do?” but rather, “Do I want to do this, too?” my answers are a laundry list of the 9 signs that you will be successful and happy in the field of PR:
- You listen actively – A big part of the job is figuring out what parts of a project, story, idea or personality might resonate with what audiences. You need to be able to hear, synthesize and analyze on the fly.
- You’re always curious – I have a burning need to know. Always have. I thrive on information, ideas and how they all fit together. Good PR and marketing people have a deep knowledge base which helps them see new ways things might fit together.
- You consume information for fun – watching the news, reading the paper, social networks, mags, books, blogs… all part of the job. How can you pitch what will resonate if you don’t know who covers what, what factors are important and what (right now) is making people’s hearts beat a little faster?
- You like people – (well, most people, most of the time) Public relations is not about a nameless, faceless public. It’s about creating mental and emotional connections (a relationship) between individual members of the public and a person, place, idea or thing.
- You communicate well both in writing and in person – Make no mistake. You will be writing, researching, interviewing and selling your ideas. Nothing kills a “maybe” pitch idea faster than a poorly written, badly researched release.
- You thrive on finding connections between things – How does a roofing company get some press? Maybe they can talk about how to self-diagnose potential roof problems right after a major storm blows through. What does a demolition company have in common with Earth Day? What if they recycle all usable bricks or other materials through a local facility or donate them to a Habitat for Humanity project?
- You build and maintain relationships – Good PR people understand that people are making the decisions on the other end about whether the story gets any coverage. It’s the flip side of seeing the Public as a collection of individuals. Remember the Media is also a collection of individuals. Get to know them.
- You understand technology – We aren’t going to move backward. To be good in public relations, you need to understand how those individuals in your intended audience want to get their information, today. And be thinking already about what they’ll want tomorrow. PR practitioners must be on the forefront of information-sharing technology and platforms in order to remain relevant.
- You’re ethical – You will, if you do your job well, affect what news and information gets shared with the public. Shouldering that responsibility firmly and recognizing your obligations to ethical behavior are critical both for your success, your company or firm’s success and for the long-term health of the field.
Those are my thoughts… what do you think makes people “right” for PR?
Great list! To add a tenth sign, I believe that being outspoken, personable and diplomatic are all great traits for being a sucessful public relations practitioner.
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