As someone who has never worked in PR before my co-op at Metis, I had to learn on the fly in an industry with steep learning curves. After six months on the job, I found these tips helped me be successful:
It may sound cliché to say you should be an information sponge, but in order to do your job successfully, you must know how and why things work in your business. During my time at Metis, I had to understand complex technology and B2B solutions and convey concepts to others in layman’s terms. At first, I felt self-conscious about appearing naïve, but asking questions about every possible aspect or scenario avoids miscommunication and ensures you know what you are talking about.
Take detailed notes.
When you ask questions, make sure you write down the responses. Sometimes the saying is that “less is more,” but that is not the case with notes. When an executive or contact brings up a discussion from the previous week, it helps to have the entire conversation on hand for reference. I cannot count how many times my notes have been my saving grace when on the phone with a reporter that needed an immediate answer.
When you are in that post-lunch haze and you find your mind wandering, a to-do list will keep you on track until the end of the day. Breaking down your day into short chunks of time for each project on your plate will keep things fresh, and there are many free organizational tools online to help with project management. (I recommend Todoist for a holistic view of your workload.) In addition, a clutter-free desk, e-mail and folders will also help with keeping your thoughts organized and improve efficiency.
There is nothing more embarrassing than publishing a piece of content with a spelling or grammar mistake. Even if you are running up against a deadline, always take that extra minute to proof and have a co-worker review your work before submitting. Your credibility will thank you.
You have to get used to rejection when working in PR. Not every day will be a ray of sunshine, and when you strike out after pitching reporters all day, a positive attitude can keep your energy levels up, help you avoid burnout and give you the fuel to regroup so you can be successful. Keeping the energy up is challenging, but when you finally get coverage in a publication you have been working on for weeks, the stress feels worth it. Have any helpful tips for starting out in a new field? Let us know in the comments section or tweet us at @Metiscomm.
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