If you’d like to build a career in public relations, then there’s one thing you should be doing at all times: learning.
The rest of this article is going to examine how to be a good public relations officer, but we wanted to start with this idea specifically because it summarizes all the others.
If you’re ready and willing to learn at every stage of your career, from the earliest days of your first job to the last year before retirement, then you’ll always have a better chance of performing at your best and helping your clients achieve the results they want.
There are so many ways to learn new things in public relations, and if you keep your eyes and your mind open, then each of your experiences will help you improve in some way.
Now let’s move on to some specifics.
When you first start working for a large PR company, it can definitely feel a bit intimidating. There might be a temptation to keep your head down and blend in as well as you can.
While there’s nothing wrong with focusing on your work, this attitude probably isn’t going to lead to long-term success.
You need to have a clear idea of what you want to get from your career. Do you want to start your own PR business? Do you want to pursue multiple promotions until you’re the top dog?
Knowing what you want doesn’t mean that your professional goals can’t change over time. In fact, they’re almost guaranteed to change as your career, and your life in general, changes too.
But at any given moment, you should know what you’re working towards.
Not only will this help to keep you motivated, but it can also aid you in the pursuit of those goals.
The leadership at any company is always on the lookout for ambitious employees to promote or even groom for future leadership positions.
Ambition helps you stand out, and standing out can quickly lead to progress.
We talk quite a bit about creativity here on the site, and it’s for a very good reason. Not many people outside of PR think that the industry requires much creativity to begin with, but this just isn’t true.
Clients appreciate it when you put in the extra time and extra thought to find solutions that fit their needs, rather than just defaulting to tactics that are used all the time.
Of course, it’s not always possible to spend extra time and effort trying to reinvent the wheel for a client, but as you gain more experience in the field, you’ll start to recognize opportunities for more creative thought, so keep your eyes open.
The public relations landscape is ever-changing, and the professionals who keep up with those changes will be the ones ready to adapt to it.
Public relations is very much a business of people. It’s about the conversations you’ll have with clients and coworkers on a daily basis.
This is why good public relations officers are both friendly and effective in their professional communications, whether in person or through emails.
Being friendly towards others is a bit of a no-brainer: everyone wants to be treated well, regardless of their role and regardless of any recent successes or failures.
It can take a decent amount of effort, but being friendly towards others, even when you’re not feeling your best, will help to make you a valued member of any work environment.
As for effective communication with others, it’s all about being clear. If you have an important question to ask of a coworker, don’t circle around to the point, just ask the question in a polite way and move on with your work.
If you’re in a consultation meeting with a client and things have derailed into the land of abstract brainstorming, set things straight by making clear what information you’ll need to move forward with a potential public relations campaign.
Having professional conversations of any kind is part of the job, but steering those conversations in the direction of important points will help things move along more quickly, and that’s important for every kind of campaign.
Going back to the idea of working well with other PR professionals, being a good team member should always be a priority.
As an example, let’s just say that you’re part of a team working on a brand new campaign for a soft drink brand.
You have a special knack for background research, and you already have ideas for where you can find some valuable information that would be relevant to this campaign.
Even after speaking up and making your case, you get assigned to a completely different task.
Rather than making a fuss and trying to get the assignment you wanted all along, focus on your assignment.
Later on, when the team comes back together, you can definitely give feedback on the research that was done, but handling your own task should be your focus until that point.
There are times when you need to simply swallow your pride and help out the team any way you can.
Employees who are self-starters are immediately more valuable to their employers, and that’s definitely true for PR as well.
This is all about going above and beyond. If you find yourself with extra time during a workday and there’s nothing else you can do to make progress on your current assignments, look for other ways to help out.
Take the opportunity to do some of that creative thinking we were talking about earlier. Maybe reach out to your coworkers and ask if you can help them with their assignments.
This isn’t about looking helpful and ambitious, it’s about being helpful, being effective, and actually having a strong work ethic.
When you work hard every single day, you’re setting yourself up to be rewarded in the future, and to be recognized as an outstanding public relations officer.