So, You Want to Be a PR Person? How to Grow a Career in Public Relations
Public relations has always been a very important aspect of marketing in every industry around the world. There is no successful business person who does not have some sort of PR department in their company. If you are a job seeker looking to go into PR, now is a great time: opportunities abound in this thriving sector.
That being said, there is a great deal of competition as well. You’re not the only one vying for a PR role!
With that in mind, here are some tips on how to grow your career in public relations in the modern business landscape.
1. Learn to Use Social Networks
Public relations is all about having the right connections with the right people who can pass along the message of your product or service into their social circles. The best way to get in touch with these early-adopter alpha types is through social media. If you do a little digging, these people are very easy to spot: they’ll have a lot of followers, friends, and fans, and their handles will pop up over and over again on the platforms they use.
Another bonus of learning to use social media: you can expand your network internationally, which is much harder to do if you’re still relying on traditional media sources and networking opportunities.
Every public relations rep must have the ability to determine which social networks are worth their time. Simply building a profile for each client on every social network possible is not a good strategy. You need to be more targeted in your efforts and leverage only the social networks that will reach your client’s desired audience. Even APIs such as Hootsuite that allow you to post simultaneously to many networks do not justify spreading yourself that thin.
Be an authority on the audience that each social network draws and the type of content that circulates in the network. If your client owns a flower shop, then Pinterest is definitely a social network to note. However, a textile company most likely will not find a receptive audience on Pinterest. LinkedIn might be a better choice for this type of a business. It is up to you to guide the client — the results should speak for themselves.
2. Leverage Technology That Is Meant for PR Professionals — and Some That Isn’t
For instance, social media is a tool that seems to be tailor-made for public relations professionals. You also have the traditional tools that a PR rep takes advantage of — i.e., phone and address books. However, the only way for your PR firm to outpace the competition is for you to use these tools in ways that they have not been used before.
Certain social media platforms may not be geared toward pushing people to your client’s website — however, you must find a way to do this. Consider your conversion goals and how you can best achieve them. The most likely scenario is that you will be combining the abilities of multiple social networks in order to achieve the results that you are looking for. Learn about the various free APIs, such as Hootsuite and Hadoop, that can be utilized in order to maximize more than one social network at once.
3. Don’t Lose the Old-School Technique: Know How to Throw Events in the Real World
Even if you conduct most of your public relations work from online, the truth is that most of your content will need to come from the offline world. Most of the successful Facebook pages today have content from real-life events thrown within the local community by the business that is promoting itself. These pictures of happy customers using the product that is being sold are then pushed to outside media in order to attract a bigger audience.
Focusing on localization will also help you with search engine optimization results: the major search engines are programmed to push pages that focus on local content to the top of their results. Take advantage of this fact.
PR is an exciting and competitive industry. Those who want to start their careers in the arena — and even those who want to take their existing PR careers to the next level — would do well to utilize these tips in their daily practice.