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3 PR Techniques They Can’t Teach You In School

October 29th, 2012 · 3 Comments

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.

Tags: Advice from a Pro · Guest Post

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Molly Monihan // Nov 4, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Reading this blog post made me think about all of the lessons that I have learned outside of school during my internships and life experiences. I have to say that I appreciate the first tip – making personal connections – the most. I have found that in the working world, the best way to continue doing business and keeping relationships is making good connections. Especially in the PR world, it is important to be a likable person. A smile, a friendly conversation and good mood are always imperative. I really like the tip of taking a journalist out to lunch. I will keep this in mind after I graduate with my PR degree.

  • 2 Cecilia Bianco // Nov 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    As a senior public relations student, these tips are invaluable to my future career. I especially appreciate your third tip as it is relevant to a current problem I am having with an internship. I have been reaching out to communications professionals by E-mail and not getting as many responses as I would like. I wasn’t sure if sending reminders would be helpful or an annoyance. After reading this post, I feel more confident about sending out a reminder E-mail – a short, concise and direct reminder, of course.

    Thanks for the helpful tip.

  • 3 Nicole // Nov 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    It seems interesting that some of the most valued PR skills are rarely taught in the classroom but rather through experience. Your blog reminded me of my internship with a public relations firm where I was responsible for sending email and phone pitches to journalists. This process can be rather intimidating and it is important that the PR professional minimize their chance of mistake. This idea is re-inforced by your second tip which suggests double checking all email pitches. I greatly appreciated your blog posts and will remember these tips in the future when I am looking for a career in the PR field.

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