The Importance of Networking for PR Pros

As public relations and communications professionals, we’re no strangers to speaking with new people. Whether it’s clients, reporters or influencers – we are constantly networking.

However, when was the last time you networked outside of the usual “people you kind of already know?” I’m talking about walking into a room and not knowing anyone. Does the thought alone make your hands sweat? If so, you aren’t alone! In fact, one in four professionals admit they don’t network at all. But let’s change that.

Networking is a vital skill for PR and communications professionals. I’m a firm believer in stepping out of your comfort zone and the minute you do – you’ll see growth. Here are four reasons why you need to find a networking event ASAP and sharpen your skills.

Job opportunities.
It may be hard to believe, but most millennials actually love to network, as there can be hundreds of job opportunities that come from it. According to Virgin Wireless, 85 percent of positions are filled through networking alone. So, if you’re unemployed or unhappy in your current position, explore various networking opportunities. You never know what they may turn into!

Helpful tip: As a recent college grad, I found my success in networking after collecting business cards and emailing those who I met the next day. It shows your connections that you are serious and interested in the conversation. With this process, you’re guaranteed to make an impression. Plus, it allows you to stick out of the crowd. Not everyone, nor even half will email their new connections the next day! 

Gaining new ideas.
It’s common for mid-level employees and professionals to enjoy networking, but the end result can sometimes look different. Instead of seeking job opportunities, they like to connect to share ideas and gain new insight. For example, you may be having a difficult time reaching an audience in a thought-provoking way. However, if we are networking with other like-minded professionals, your connections may have insight on how to better reach the audience in question. 

Meeting professionals who have the same challenges but are willing to share their solutions is a great form of encouragement. Learn to rely on your network when things get tough. Sharing information is a key role in communications careers, and I challenge you to share ideas at your next networking opportunity. 

Finding new business opportunities.
Networking can also bring upon fresh business opportunities in places you might not expect. Typically, this is where the big bang on ROI kicks in. People you meet networking can often help you to identify new market opportunities you might not have thought of previously.

For example, are you a freelancer wanting to tap into the nonprofit market? Research nonprofit networking events near you and make those connections.

Finding the right mentors.
When I was in college, I was grateful enough to be placed with a professional mentor and I truly believe through that professional relationship, I was taught valuable skills. I was able to make more connections, gain real-world knowledge and have a professional reference at hand if I ever needed it.

You’re never too young or too old for a professional mentor. The key is to find someone who can teach you and advise when things get tough. I recommend finding someone in a position higher than yours, as they often have already navigated those rough waters and paved the way.

Already have a mentor? Consider becoming one yourself. While at networking events, connect with younger professionals or students. Not only will they be thrilled to learn from someone with more experience, but those relationships can even grow into life-long friendships.

Networking is vital in our profession, and you should treat it as such. Research local groups in your area for networking opportunities. A good place to start are chambers of commerce, professional associations and more.

A few of my local Indy favorites are below!

Grab your professional blazer and practice your handshake, because you are officially ready to network!

Want to professionally network with our Dittoe PR staff? We meet with local students and professionals often to grab coffee and chat about opportunities. Check out our team page – we’d love to hear from you!

The Importance of Building A Personal Brand in PR

When it comes to communicating in the business world, there’s nothing more important than strong, authentic branding. When done properly, a brand tells a story, builds a customer base and captures attention. As PR professionals, we are often so focused on building our clients’ brands that we forget about the importance of our own personal brands.

In my previous blog post, I discussed the growing importance of visuals in the 21st century. Well, coinciding with this hot topic, it has become increasingly more imperative for PR professionals to build and maintain a strong image – or personal brand – to further the success of their company.

Personal branding is the practice of individuals marketing themselves and their careers as brands. It signifies who you are as a professional, and as we know, image speaks volumes in today’s world. Personal branding is not simply boasting your successes, but instead, an opportunity to promote your company, skill sets and accomplishments in a way that rings true to who you are and what you’re working to achieve in the industry.

In this article, I’ll highlight three ways #PRpros can leverage their own personal brand – whether it be via social media or social networking – to further promote their company and ensure long-term success. 

Establishing credibility
Your personal brand can add tremendous value to your company in a way that offers a realistic glimpse into who is behind the success. People like to know people. In particular, potential clients want to know the team members they will be working with. They want to know they can trust them, and that they’ll conduct business in a way that rings true to the company’s vision and values. The first places they’ll go to retrieve this information is either LinkedIn, Google or quite possibly, Instagram.

If your presence is nonexistent, then uh-oh, you may raise some red flags.

Is this person real?
Do they care about their job?
Who exactly am I working with?

That’s probably what colleagues asked when I left my Instagram blank for months. However, now, I’ve learned the value in my personal brand. Whether its tagging your company in your bio, sharing client coverage on your feed, or capturing the most recent team building event, your personal brand serves as an excellent platform to advocate for your company. If employees and high-level executives maintain trustworthy, authentic personal brands, then in turn, the company will be perceived as the same.

Enhancing storytelling
At the core of every PR professional is their passion for storytelling. It’s what drives our efforts and essentially lands us clients. Well, a personal brand in itself tells a story – your story. Between your hobbies, how you conduct yourself over the phone, the articles you read and share online, and the clothes you wear, your brand tells the story of your life, and if leveraged appropriately, your career. It has the power to transform your company from a faceless brand to a group of passionate professionals.

Furthermore, your approach towards storytelling can prove much more impactful than the typical cut and dry corporate approach. Taking a client story or company win, adding a personal touch or authentic tone to it and re-sharing it with your audience can prove much more impactful. In fact, when brand messages are shared by employees on social media, the estimated reach of a post increases by 561%when compared to the same messages shared by the brand’s social media channels. See, people like people, and your personal brand – comical, glamourous, sophisticated or whatever it may be – can capture the story in a greater way that leaves a lasting impression and sparks interest in your company.

Strengthening recruitment
As a millennial, social media is my channel of choice to help build my personal brand. And pretty frequently, my friends, family and industry peers react to the numerous posts I share involving any company events or my career success:

Your job looks so fun!
What an incredible story!
OMG that’s amazing!


They don’t realize it, but I am leveraging my attempt at a “witty yet refined” personal brand to advocate for my company. By integrating my personal values and company culture into my personal brand, I’ve attracted like-minded folks and cultivated a desire to work at Dittoe PR. Therefore, personal branding serves as a key player in talent acquisition, which can lead to 33% higher revenue for your company. While it’s easy to focus entirely on building the company brand, it’s the people behind the brand that potential clients, colleagues and consumers connect with most and evoke behavior – whether it be clicking the story link, signing the contract or applying for the position.

If your personal brand is already well-established, but you’d like some assistance with your company’s brand – we’re just a click away from helping you craft the professional image your business desires.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Summer Internship

School is out and summer internships are beginning. Internships are a proven way to expand knowledge, sharpen skills and gain real-life experience while establishing lasting connections in the industry. Plus, your new gig is also a way to get your feet wet and find out if a specific field is something you could see yourself doing full-time after graduation.

Summer internships can be highly competitive, but often provide more opportunities to work full-time without the stress of taking classes at the same time.

Now that you’ve landed your dream internship at a company you can see yourself working at full-time in the future, it’s time to focus on how you can make your internship experience the best it can be. Here are six ways to make the most out of your summer internship.

Make a strong first impression.
It’s all in the little things! From showing up on time and introducing yourself to your new team members to following your office’s dress code might seem like simple tasks, but these details are crucial for making a great first impression. A little bit of effort to help others can go a long way, even with tasks that fall outside of the typical intern to-do’s, such as helping to keep the kitchen clean or restock snacks.

Treat every day as your first, keeping a positive attitude and making yourself readily available for others to make a long-lasting impression.

Build your professional network.
An internship is a great time to build up your network of references, contacts and professionals who may one day help you get to where you want to go. Reach out to your new coworkers and the leadership team to grab a coffee or go out to lunch. Ask them about their career path and listen to their answers for ideas on how you can leverage their insight in the future. Building your network can include fun things, too. Consider joining the office book club or attending other social events in order to get to know your coworkers outside of the office.

Internships are one of the best ways to find out if an industry or company is the right fit for you, and the connections you make now could help you find a job in the future.

Stay organized.
One of my favorite tips is to keep a running to-do list or spreadsheet of projects and activities you’re working on. In some cases, you may be asked to share a weekly project update with your internship director, or you may need to submit a report for college course credit. Plus, keeping a log will help you recall what types of projects you’ve worked on over the course of your internship and better capture what you did on your resume.

Strong organizational skills will help to demonstrate to your new team that you’re ready for the real-world and can be trusted with important tasks and projects.

Develop your skills.
At the start of your internship, identify two or three skills you do not currently possess or that need improvement. Address your growth goals with your internship director and work on developing them further before the end of the summer.

If there are any opportunities for you to improve by attending a workshop or sitting in on a meeting, ask to take advantage of those. This will demonstrate a willingness to improve and allow you to gain more than just industry knowledge during your time with the company.

Ask for feedback frequently.
Asking for constructive feedback is one of the best ways to gauge your growth throughout your internship, as well as identify areas of improvement as you continue to grow. While feedback can sometimes be difficult to receive, understanding how to utilize constructive feedback to improve can make you even better.

When you can, ask your peers how you are doing and what you can do to grow – they are likely to give you a few pieces of advice as well!

End on a high note.

As you near the end of your summer internship, make sure to demonstrate your appreciation for the opportunity. Thank your supervisor, mentors and any other coworkers who helped you along your journey. A handwritten card is a small token of appreciation that will go a long way. It is often the small things you did or gestures of gratitude that people remember best.

You might also want to ask your coworkers if they would be willing to connect on LinkedIn, write you a recommendation or keep in touch for when you are looking for a real job.  Your summer internship placement might, in fact, be the best prospect for your first job out of college.

Interested in gaining real-life experience with an internship at Dittoe PR? We are now searching for fall interns. To apply, send a cover letter, resume with references, and three diverse writing samples to Sophie Maccagnone at sophie@dittoepr.com.

This blog post was drafted by former Dittoe PR intern Keeley Miller.