Public relations is a dynamic, energetic career for young professionals. Many individuals enter into this profession thinking they’re going to love each and every moment of their work, but truth be told, public relations is a difficult career to undertake. Even with a college degree, numerous internships, and work experience a person may struggle learning all the necessary ins and outs of this intriguing profession. With that said, it’s helpful to learn some useful career advice along the way. If you’re a college student who is looking to become a PR professional, here are three important techniques to keep in mind when starting out in the PR field.
Make personal connections
Journalism and public relations may be two separate fields, but they must work closely alongside each other in order to be successful. You’ll be pitching to a lot of media outlets, and if you want to have numerous media placements, you’re going to need to make a few personal connections with the journalists you’re working with. I’m not suggesting you seek out every person you’re pitching to; instead, it’s wise to reach out to about three to five journalists you feel you can work a lot with and then invite them each out for coffee or drinks. If a journalist turns you down on a meeting, don’t take it personally; just move on to the next one. Furthermore, when you’re meeting with these journalists, focus on getting to know more about their interests and personal lives. Don’t pitch to them during these informal meetings because they’ll probably find it tasteless. Form a friendship first and pitch second; that’s the key to success.
Double-check all email pitches
Let’s be honest: We all use templates whenever we send along pitch emails to journalists. I know I’m guilty of it! Whenever you send along a pitch email, however, you should always double-check your work. Make sure the name, publication, pitch, and extra information match up with the person/publication you’re attempting to pitch to. Trust me, it’s embarrassing to have a journalist respond to you saying, “You misspelled my name” or “This pitch isn’t relevant to my column,” so always, always double-check your email pitches.
Follow up with reminder emails
I used to be nervous whenever I’d follow up with journalists about pitches I sent out, yet I quickly learned that journalists actually appreciate follow-up emails and reminders – as long as they’re short, concise, and direct. Remember, some journalists receive several hundred emails a day, so it’s unlikely they’ll be able to respond to any and every pitch that is sent their way. Give journalists about two weeks to review your initial email and if they’ve haven’t responded, then follow up with a short email asking if they’re interested in the pitch you originally sent along. In all likelihood, they’ll get back to you with a definite yes or no answer.
Getting a degree in public relations is helpful, but there are some things you’re inevitably going to have to learn on the job in order to find career success. Keep these three key tips if you’re just starting out in the pr world!
Lenore Holditch is a frequent contributor to www.toponlinecolleges.com. Her interests include education and media.