Five Life Skills Gained Through Public Relations

There’s no denying that my skillset has grown vastly since I began my career at Dittoe PR back in 2015. From starting as an intern to now leading our intern program, I have my all-star team of coworkers to thank for teaching me the ins and outs of public relations. I’ve learned how to be proactive, how to think like a journalist, how to navigate a PR crisis and several other areas of expertise that you can’t really learn in a classroom setting.

 

While there are several things that can be taught, other life skills that come naturally by trade. Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to gain (and grow) the following life skills through my time working in public relations:

 

Adaptability.

One of the first things I learned when I first started in the PR world is how to be f-l-e-x-i-b-l-e. Being able to adapt to other’s schedules or navigate a change of plans it imperative in our industry. I can recall on several occasions where I’ve sent something to a client for approval, only to be told that the core details have since changed. Being able to adapt quickly will not only help you grow in the fast-paced world of PR, but with our ever-changing lives.

 

Awareness.

I’ve learned how important it is to be aware of what’s going on in the world and around me. This stems back to my high school and college journalism classes, where we were required to take current events quizzes. While they were slightly annoying at the time (sorry Professor Bridge), I’ve realized how vital it is to know what’s going in our world. In our industry, I’m constantly following trends and reading up on current events, which can help with newsjacking efforts for clients.

 

Being up-to-date of current events is a life skill that you can carry throughout your life. It can expand your general knowledge and can help you make more informed decisions. Plus, knowing what’s going on in the world can help your general communication skills when it comes to networking events or chatting with your peers.

 

Confidence.

I had to grow pretty quickly in a small office setting. With a team of less than 20, I’ve been assigned tasks in the past that were new to me. I had to build my confidence and sometimes put on a “fake-it-‘til-you-make-it” face. My first in-studio segment? I obviously had never been to one, let alone attended one by myself, but I had to muster up the courage and confidence and act like it was my twentieth time going in-studio with a client. I’ve been faced with several similar instances since and will likely continue to for the rest of my life, but being thrown into these situations has helped me gain the confidence I’d probably never have if I worked in a different office setting.

 

Persistence.

In the world of PR, you have to be persistent. Emails get buried in inboxes and often go unseen by the media. Don’t give up if you haven’t heard back, and don’t be shy following up or tweaking your pitch! Sometimes it can take several follow ups before a reporter agrees to do a story. While this is a more obvious skill for our industry, this is something that has translated into other areas of my life (planning a wedding, hearing back from a consultant, etc.). If you don’t hear from someone right away, don’t give up!

 

Time management.

Deadlines. We all love them. After joining the Dittoe PR team full time, it took me some time to figure out a good time management system. There are several tasks we must complete during the day, but it’s ultimately up to us on how we divvy that time up. Giving yourself and your team internal deadlines and setting expectations on how long a project should take will help when trying to figure out how to manage your 40-hour work week. This goes outside of the office, too – setting goals for yourself, like finishing a book once a month or working out three times a week, will help give you a better understanding of how to manage your time wisely.

 

While I can go on and on about all the life skills I’ve learned while working public relations, I feel like these skills have not only helped me grow professionally, but personally, too. If you’re a student interested in an internship at Dittoe PR (and gaining some of these skills), please send your resume with references, cover letter and three diverse writing samples to vanessa [at] dittoepr.com.

Why Persistence is Public Relations’ Most Valuable Skill

While public relations may seem like a dazzling profession full of glam, glitz, and celebrities, PR pros understand how truly grueling the work can be. At times, PR can involve a lot of teamwork, determination, and patience, but most importantly, it involves persistence.

 

It’s easy for someone to write a press release about an upcoming event or initiative or even to create a landing page online for blog content. But to really drive results, PR experts understand how crucial it is to be persistent in your efforts – from media relations to content creation and social media, it takes more than distributing one press release every six months or posting one Tweet each week to really drive results.

 

When it comes to conducting media relations or PR campaigns, persistence is particularly important. In order to successfully conduct a media relations campaign, simply writing a release, publishing it on the company’s press page and hoping media will pick it up will likely will not cut it. Brands should consistently test out new story angles and hooks, follow up with media regularly – sharing additional information to pique their interest – and always be on the hunt for a new media contact who might be interested in sharing your story.

 

Besides that, media relations involves a lot of other tasks that require a persistent mindset. For instance, we hear “no” more times than we can count when reaching out to media with story ideas. PR pros invest a lot of time researching the perfect journalists just to find out they’re not interested in your topic. We also hear “maybe” a lot, which can often turn out to be dead ends. The trick is to not get discouraged, but rather see it as a challenge to overcome.

 

The point is a good PR pro understands you can’t take no for an answer. When one door closes, we find a way to open another. By researching additional contacts, sending out new pitches and continuing to persevere, we’re able to secure the results our clients deserve.

 

A young professional starting out in the world of PR might be surprised at just how much patience and perseverance the job takes. However, when you’re passionate about your clients, you don’t just give up. Instead, we work hard to find new opportunities, review past failures and keep trucking forward.

 

Public relations can be an extremely valuable tool for businesses of all sizes. Whether a company is well established or just starting out, it can be very beneficial to position your brand to the public in a proactive way to ensure your brand is well recognized. After all, behind any public relations campaign is a well-crafted strategy, precise messaging, and a whole lot of perseverance.

 

If you’re interested in learning how our team’s tenacious efforts can generate results for your company, contact Lauryn Gray, lauryn@dittoepr.com, or request a consultation today!