Job title and function: I wear many hats. I do everything from client networking and proposal writing to strategy and implementation of public relations, social media, email marketing campaigns and web design solutions. I have also started training courses to give small business owners a helping hand with their social media. Ultimately, my job is to listen to my clients and then develop and execute the best plan to help get their voices heard and their objectives met.
Most rewarding thing about working in PR today: Despite the rapid changes in technology and media, ethical PR strategy and tactics still get results. A news release helped a client raise money for charity. A broader social media strategy helped a client gain more customers. Letters to legislators helped a client get a law passed. A newsletter helped a client educate and retain its members. As a PR pro, there is nothing more rewarding for me than the satisfaction of helping a client reach their goals through communications.
Craziest/most challenging thing you’ve done in PR: One of my craziest adventures was while I worked for The Rossman Group (now Truscott Rossman) in Lansing, Mich. My client, The Michigan Oil and Gas Association, hired us to promote The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. One summer, I organized press conferences at several sites across the state. It was just me in my little Honda at these remote locations with limited cell service. Never before in a traditional press conference did I have to direct news trucks down unnamed back roads, schlep podiums out to swampy bird sanctuaries, or ask participants to do their best to talk over the bugling elks standing in the reserve behind them. It was crazy, but it was worth it as the client got great coverage for the program and my work on that campaign won our firm the Central Michigan Public Relations Society of America’s “Best In Show” award that year.
Advice for new PR pros: First, always do quality work. Then…
1) Connect with other PR pros. I met amazing friends and colleagues through the Central Michigan chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s New Professionals group. We supported each other through the highs and lows during the first years of our careers. Fifteen years later, we are scattered across the country but we’re still cheering for each other’s accomplishments on social media and answering each other’s calls for help or advice.
2) Become a member of a public relations trade association, society, meetup, or club. I am a member of the North Carolina Chapter of Public Relations Society of America (NCPRSA). Membership is the key to continuing your professional development and finding future job opportunities.
3) Find a mentor. Seek out someone that you trust and respect who will answer your questions and guide you through managing workflow, navigating office dynamics and working with clients – all skills that will help you move to the next level.
4) Speak Up! It’s always better to ask for help, than to make a mistake – especially when dealing with the media. But if and when you do make a mistake, admit it, fix it and learn from it – quick!
Are you interested in being featured in “PR People?” Send us a message on Facebook to share your story!