Five tips for starting a career in PR

Want to break into PR? Here’s a few pieces of advice.

So, you want to work in public relations (PR). Contrary to public perception (thanks Absolutely Fabulous’ Edina Monsoon), working in the PR industry isn’t one long party. Rather it’s a fiercely competitive industry to break into, but a rewarding one where no two days are the same.

Considering joining the communications industry? Here Nicola Millington, founder PR and Marketing agency FP Comms, shares her tips on how to get into PR…

1. Agency or in-house
You may know that you want to work in PR, but do you want to work for a PR agency or in-house for a company? In an agency, you’ll most likely find yourself working across a portfolio of clients and on projects that utilise an array of skills.  Working in-house allows PR professionals to focus on one brand and/or a particular campaign.

2. Do your homework
An understanding of the current media landscape is crucial as it’s the media – be it magazines, newspapers, radio or websites – that you’ll be pitching stories to. By immersing yourself in the media, you’ll develop an understanding of what ‘makes’ a good story as well as the kind of angles that different organisations take. Be sure to stay up-to-date with industry news and trends, by reading relevant trade press such as Campaign and PR Week.

3. Write! Write! Write!
It’s no secret that outstanding writing skills are synonymous with success in the PR industry – you’ll be writing press releases, blog and social media posts, speeches and much more. To sharpen your writing skills, you need to be writing every single day. Writing is a skill and, like any skill, the more you practise the better you will become. Whether you write for yourself or for a blog, just write!

4. Qualifications aren’t essential
An obvious route into the industry is by studying for a PR degree (check out the Public Relations Consultants Association, an externally recognised body, for approved courses) but while a degree can help you stand out, experience is better. Show me you’ve made the effort to learn the ropes – even if it’s interning in an agency or a company with an established comms department for a week – and I’ll much more likely to give you a chance.

5. Don’t be a wallflower
You don’t have to be Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones to work in PR but it’s not a profession for wallflowers either. After all, PR is all about communication –  this is the persuasion business – so you need to be comfortable picking up the phone and chatting to new people and, post-pandemic, meeting them for an early power breakfast or a post-work dinner and often back-to-back.

Speaking of networking, sign up to professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn, get involved in discussions on Twitter (but make sure your social media sites portray you in a positive light) and attend industry events. Do your own PR, make yourself known and never give up – the best PR professionals tend to be the most tenacious and resilient.


Editor's notes:

About The PR Club

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