Week 10 – Your advice What advice would you offer PR students who are new to PR writing? Come up with your own Top 10 list. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading...
New to PR writing? Here are my top 10 tips:
1. Don’t worry. Even if you have a hard time at first, it will get easier.
2. Learn AP style. I know it is annoying and frustrating sometimes, but it will make you look like a professional, and that’s priceless.
3. Practice, practice, practice. The more you write, the more you will improve, and the easier it will get.
4. Learn what newsworthy really is. No matter what, professionals in the field are always going to challenge your information as “so what, who cares?”
5. Keep good books. You might go a long time not writing a specific kind of document, then find yourself in a new position needing the expertise to write that document. Keep good reference books handy just in case.
6. Find those people around you who you can count on to review your work. It may be intimidating to ask for help and devastating when you get your work back covered in red marks, but trust me, it’s worth it.
7. Desire to learn. This goes for anything including learning the new fad, learning a new skill, and keeping up on the latest news.
8. Network all the time. A lot of important business relationships started out as conversations while waiting in line at Starbucks.
9. Practice integrity in daily life. Integrity is defined as doing the right thing when no one is looking. The benefit for PR is that when someone does start looking, you won’t look bad.
10. Learn the rules of writing, then learn to break them effectively. If you ever want to stand out, learn the skill so well no one can touch you.
After writing these, I realized they are really in no particular order. I really appreciate this question because I always wish that there are people who can give me advice when starting something new. I am very passionate about helping other people out. Hopefully my advice is worth something.
I honestly laugh a little to myself now whenever I hear someone say “so what, who cares?” Gina is so set on this idea, and I think for good reason. It is some of the best advice you will receive when writing for the public. If you are not writing what is newsworthy, then no one is going to read what you are writing! So making sure that you are aware of what is recent and what people want to read is very important in pr writing.
I think honesty and integrity go hand in hand, so you and I are on the same page when it comes to “doing the right thing.” it is important to know that there are people watching you in this profession and one slip up can cost you your reputation, which in the end means your job.
I totally agree with you when you say “honesty and integrity go hand in hand, so you and I are on the same page when it comes to “doing the right thing.” it is important to know that there are people watching you in this profession and one slip up can cost you your reputation, which in the end means your job.”
I don’t think we as pr professionals can not do our job to the best of our abilities with out having those qualities. Having that type of character makes you good at your job. along with having the the ability to know what it important to you audience.
I like how you wrote about keeping good records of things. People, myself included, don’t always think about the future and when we will need something. There have definitely been times where i’ve finished a class thrown away all my notes only to really want them a couple months later. We need to become “PR hoarders” and save everything we could possibly need ever, because sadly we will not always have Gina to remind us.
What a great comprehensive top ten list. I think your advice goes beyond the typical. I am an admitted PR hoarder. I love my text books, BROCHURES :), my PR matrix, etc…. Look at life beyond college too the same applies. If there is a method you use in a job don’t forget it use it in the future. For example, I had to write “weekly highlights” in one of my positions. When I became a manger I had my staff do the same and now PRSSA e-board members write up weekly highlights too. Things like that… not confidential procedures!
I love your #10. It’s so true! We do have to break writing rules but we have to do it tastefully and with grace. We need to become seasoned writers that know the right and wrong of grammar and AP style but we also need to be fresh-faced communicators who aren’t afraid to make things our own. Hmph. How on earth do we do that though? Your comment was super fun to read–I love how we all pretty much say the same thing: have fun, don’t stress, make a mess! As PR practitioners we can make good “messes.” I think this will be fun to figure out in our future careers!
I agree that integrity is key in PR. Integrity is challenged in times of crises. Someone might as well start practicing what integrity preaches. They can take a look at any scandal that’s out there – Penn State, the head of the CIA having an affair – and learn not to make those same mistakes.
I think you did a really good job writing your PR tips Megan. I agree with your advice and nothing has ever been perfected without practice and hard work! Learning AP style is a must and that cannot be done without practice. Knowing the difference between what is newsworthy and what’s not is very helpful as well. This can tend to be a difficult skill sometimes because what you think is important may not necessarily be that important to someone else. You have to learn how to be able to decipher what would be important to everyone by asking yourself “so what, who cares”? Knowing your resources is key because if you don’t always have the answer, having good and credible sources from the Internet and books will be very helpful. Having other’s proof read your work and double checking your work is also a must. Integrity and honesty are very important in the PR field and knowing the rules and ‘tricks of the trade’ are key. Being a master in the skill of writing and being a good public speaker are a must!
“Practice integrity in daily life” is a REALLY good tip for anyone who is a part of or works closely with the media. If you screw up or do something weird, they’re going to be the first to know and that’s not a good thing. If you keep your head up and stay professional and ethical all the time, you won’t have anything to worry about.
Overall your list is really good! Great tips and rules to live by. I know Gina would be proud 🙂
As a new pr student myself, I have learned a lot this semester about how similar pr writing is to journalism, which is my minor. So even though I do not have experience in pr, my experience in journalism is definitely helpful when understanding the rules and expectations set in the field.
1. Your books are one of the best resources of information relating to formatting, what information to include, or how to fix things in your business that are not working quite right because of documentation. Most books not only include a detailed list of steps on how to put documents together, but images so you can see how they are laid out as well.
2. Do your research on the Internet if you don’t now the answer. If you can’t find them answer in your book the Internet is another great resource to turn to, however, make sure the information you are reading is from a credible source.
3. If all else fails, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Professors are not as scary as you think they are and they are willing to put time aside to help you through anything you cannot figure out on your own.
4. Pr and journalism go hand in hand. Knowing how journalists like things done will make your life much easier as a pr writer.
5. Your ap style book will be your best friend at times, so make sure to keep an up to date version!
6. Everyone will have their own opinions in the public writing fields, don’t focus so much on theirs and try to focus on the stories and getting them out to the public in an honest and straightforward way.
7. Which leads me to-always be honest! Being honest and respectful of those you are interviewing, your sources, your co workers and those you are going to for information will allow you to have contacts in the future. You never know when you will need their help for a future story.
8. Make sure to be socially involved, as a pr writer you will be expected to be up to date and know how to use new technologies. Social media is one of those areas where you may not have experience in, but you will be expected to be in charge of regardless.
9. Graphic design is more important than you realize, so having a little bit of background in that is helpful as well.
10. “Double check, triple check, verify.” A quote from my dad that I heard time and times again growing up and that I now cannot forget. Everything that you do will be sent out for millions two read, so make sure that you or someone else is checking over your work to get the right message across.
I LOVE NUMBER 3!!!!!
I can never understand why students are afraid. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness students! It’s a sign that you are still learning and that’s why we are here, to be helpful.
ASK US- WE ARE ALWAYS LISTENING!
I agree with you that PR and journalism are closely related. It helps to at least know the basics of both to be successful in either one. Books are definitely a good source of information in any given field. The internet is usually very helpful as well because you can find just about anything online but you’re right, you do have to be very careful in making sure your sources are credible because any ‘joe blow’ can post anything on the internet and call it credible, when in fact, he or she may have a biased opinion and not have all the facts right. The internet can also be a scary tool because you never really know who is posting what, someone could say they are someone they’re not and there isn’t really a good way to prove anything unless you spend a lot of time looking into the source and have the time and money to do some good detective work. Asking for help is definitely a necessity, no one in the world is born with all of the answers and I guarantee that even the most successful people out there have had to ask for help at least a time or two. AP style is a must, as much as all of us wish it wasn’t ☺! I also agree with you that you should always double check your work, always be honest and you should always stick to you guns. Don’t do something because people think you should, do what you think is right and good things will come to you. I believe in karma!
I really like your list epically number three and four. I think it is very important to let new public relation students to not be afraid to talk to their teachers. When I first transferred over to the degree I was pretty nervous to ask the professors for help, but when I finally mustered up the courage I realized I had been being a fool this whole entire time. The professors are so unbelievably help full.
When I first started I was very confused why Lolita was making me take all of these journalism courses, but I shortly found out that it is essential as public relation professionals that you know and understand the workings of a journalist. I have been shown countless examples of how journalists are not big fans of PR people, and if you do not know your stuff they can just walk right over you.
My Top 10 List of PR Pointers
1. Be familiar with and frequently use social media. Have accounts on many different sites and make sure to stay on top of promoting your product. You must be computer and Internet savvy.
2. Know the basics of Graphic design. Do a little research and practice using tools like photo-shop, illustrator and in-design.
3. Brush up on you AP style skills. Make sure you own an AP stylebook and practice learning the important rules. There are a lot of them so just pace yourself and practice!
4. Make sure you know how to network properly. Connections are all about networking and who you know, this is important!
5. Make sure you are always honest and trustworthy. This is a must in the PR world and should be a must in the business world period but we all know that this doesn’t always happen. Your reputation is everything in the PR field, word travels fast so make sure you don’t do anything to make yourself look bad or un trustworthy because no one else will want to hire you if this happens. Integrity is important!
6. You must be a strong writer. Writing skills are very important! Practice!
7. Know how to write things like press releases, pitch emails and media advisory’s.
8. Know your company and/or product. Research and be at the top of your game. You want everyone to know that who/what you are working for and/or selling is important to you and that you are a professional and know what you are talking about.
9. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. No one can improve without practicing their trade and making sure they are doing it correctly. Research your field and know the tricks of the trade.
10. Know how to handle sticky situations. Don’t buckle under pressure, be able to hold yourself together in tough situations and control your emotions. You may have to fix issues created by others, practice your public speaking and know how to speak properly in any given situation.
These are some very important skills I believe PR practitioners need to have!
I love how we all put the basics of graphic design. You wouldn’t think you would need it, and I didn’t think it would be as hard as it is, but it is something we need to be able to do. I also like how you mentioned that we need to know what we are talking about, could you imagine someone walking out in front of a audience and just winging the whole presentation? How unprofessional, we need to remember that we need to be a expert of who or what we work for.
I definitely agree that coming into this program and even my job that I did not understand how important graphic design was. I am so glad we have had the chance to go over some of it in class, and that we will even be going over things like images. These are things that I have been afraid to approach because they are intimidating, but in this profession we need to know how to do them, and it would be awesome if we knew how to do them well! It will take more practice than doing it once or twice for a class, but at least doing it in class will give us an idea of what it is like once we are under pressure to do it for a company, especially under a time crunch. Graphic design is probably the one thing that I thought I didn’t need to know that I now realize we should be engaging with more than most people because of the professions we will be going into……wish I had learned that sooner.
There are too many on this list to highlight as my favorite! These are all great pieces of advice!!!!
Great tips Amanda! I didn’t realize, before coming into this class, that at least the basics of graphic design would be nice to know. That is something that, most likely, a lot of PR students who haven’t taken this class yet don’t realize. The rest of the tips are spot on. It’s very important to have good writing skills and be an honest person when you’re in the PR world. Those would be high on my “things you should do as a PR prac” list. If you’re not honest, you’ll be the focus of attention and not the one defending the wrongdoing.
My top 10 list for new PR students is:
1. Be ready to reevaluate what you thought writing was
2. Be ready for lots of extra time and effort, PR takes research and time
3. Know the difference between the things you write, a Media Advisory is not a Press Release
4. Be sure you can maintain and make good relationships, sometimes it’s not what you know it’s who you know
5. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, sometimes the best ideas come from a crazy idea
6. Know your social media, its the new frontier people
7. Ask for help if you need it, sometimes two heads are better then one
8. Don’t lose your AP style book, if you do find another one ASAP
9. Go out there and make it happen, Gina did not become a PR BA sitting on her butt twiddling her thumbs
10. Keep up with the times, you don’t want to be out there stuck with yesterdays news/technology
Clare, I could not agree more with number 9 on your list. With that said, I also like some of the other items, like number 3. Gina has even told us about how professionals really do notice the difference when they receive a million press releases but a media advisory is what is needed. I think adding the idea you listed there and combining it with 9 would make for some really good PR work.
We can’t all hope to make it to Gina’s level, but if we make good decisions, take initiative, and pay attention to detail we will probably to alright.
This is a good list, it explains the depth of PR. PR is much more than planning parties and meeting people. You have to know your stuff in a variety of topics. You have to be a good writer, know what news is, stay on top of technology and social media all while maintaining relationships. This is a huge task that comes with trial and error and experience.
I like your #9. This is true for our future internships and jobs. We should make the most of the experiences we are given. You want to look and act like a hard worker. Bosses and managers appreciate someone who is willing to do the work, it shows a good quality in a person.
No 3 – Yes, yes, yes. I’ll add to your note – Know the lingo too. Think like a journalist, be like a journalist. That’s how we succeed in PR.
I could not agree more with your list you cover the most important topics. I really like how you said to be ready to reevaluate yourself as a writer. When I wrote my first AP style paper, I thought is was awesome, but I received it back from my professor I found out I need to do a little more than just reevaluate. I also like how you mention to take risks. I think this is very true when it comes to ideas for public relations. You have to tap into your creative side and sometime think of some crazy ideas. Our first project in Gina’s class I had to do mine on Banana slugs, which took some really crazy ideas. I also like number nine on your list, because now after this class I have a new public relations idle to strive to be and that is Gina.
If only I could go back and talk to freshman Paul…oh the lessons that I could teach him! Well I cannot do that so I guess for all the other newbies, this is what I would say:
1) Buy a planner (paper or App) If you are not organized naturally, now is the time to make the change. Deadlines are about to come at you like never before. And NO your mind does not count as a sufficient planner.
2) Learn AP and learn it thoroughly. This is your career path, don’t cheat yourself out of essential skills. We all complain about AP style, but we all still have to use it; trying to know as little as possible will not get you very far.
3) Start analyzing what organizations you like and why you like them. This will help you learn how to communicate with publics. People generally like quality and honesty, the organizations you love probably feature both.
4) Decide where you stand ethically. Ethics are going to be a huge part of your career. It’s never to early to start deciding what your limits are. When the day comes that you are asked to compromise; you will be glad you considered what your integrity is worth.
5) Gain the mastery over all Social Media in the land. Social Media is the future. Don’t you want to be a part of the future? Enough said…well…it’s also one of the most engaging ways to speak to your audience & have them speak back.There, enough said and then some.
6) Keep up with current events. Knowing what’s going on in the world will help you feel the overall mentality of society.
7) Ask! If you do not know, ask the people who do, and do not be ashamed.
8) Learn how to be a self-educator to the best of your ability. You will not always be able to ask.
9) Get it in your mind that you will have to work hard…often.
10) Be Confident. This is huge. You put a part of you on the line every time you write something, if you put your best effort into it, then don’t worry.
A planner is a good idea! Right now I write notes and due dates all over the syllabus for each class. Along with crossing off each week as it passes, my syllabus is covered with chicken scratch. A planner is a good investment to keep organized.
I like the last three, I think they all tie together. A lot of education and success comes within the person. You have to know what you want and be determined to make it happen. A lot of the best success stories are when a person has to work for it. It pays off in the end and you learn a lot from yourself through the process.
By keeping up with what is going on in the world you can also see trends. Trends equal stories that you may be able to pitch.
Paul–I love what you say about becoming a master of social media. Sometimes this can be a bit annoying because there are just so many social media websites out there but in the end, it’s totally worth it. If we are confident and competent in social media, we won’t get left behind of any social movements. I’m interested in learning about the difference between trending sites and sites that actually matter. I think there are special PR websites that offer great social media tools specifically for PR practitioners. I’ll have to do a Google search! 🙂
I agree! If only I could go back and tell myself what I know now! I agree with the AP style being such an important part of a PR professional. I think what you said about it being a career path and not something to be cheated. That’s a really good point, asking questions and not being afraid to also sets you above the rest. I think that these qualities distinguishes the okay from the great. Lastly, I think what you said about ethics is very important as well. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything!
#2 on your list is the one that I couldn’t emphasize enough in my own list. I didn’t think coming into PR writing that developing the skills to use AP style would be so difficult and so frustrating but it also proved to be very beneficial and it got easier as time went on. I also love “Ask” because I am a person who is not a big fan of asking question but in this field it is so important to learn from the more experienced professionals. Most importantly, number 10 was an excellent add to your list. I love that you mentioned confidence in the list of advice. Confidence in writing is so important. If you are ever unsure about your story, your hook or your choice of words, it will come across in your writing. Having confidence is vital to putting good ideas into good words.
Here are my top 10 tips to new PR students:
1. Don’t get intimidated at first. Everyone around you is new to this as well. This is a profession that takes skill and practice to be successful.
2. Take good notes and keep them! Especially at the beginning in Intro to PR, there are a lot of forms of writing, PR plan model and tips that one should remember for the future. It’s best to have the notes from class instead of looking at a model online for reference. The memory remembers and processes information differently when you write notes versus looking it up.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask your professor for help. Especially if you raise your hand in class and ask for clarification, other students may have the same misinterpretation. Your professor is there to help, guide and teach you. They want you to have questions. They don’t except everyone to know how to do a task the first time around.
4. Keep up with social media. Most of us these days are already on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s important to stay active. Social media has become a huge part of the PR profession and has actually shifted the career and added positions.
5. Buy an AP Style Book. This is a good investment that all PR students should have. It’s better to become familiar sooner than later about how to write in AP style. This is a guide on all questions pertaining to grammar, punctuation, style, etc. This also may be one of the cheapest books to buy in your college experience, definitely worth it.
6. Learn as much as you can from relating classes. Classes that are a part of the curriculum that aren’t directly a PR class such as copy editing, interviewing as communication, audio and video production and public speaking, just to name a few. Each class can be applied to your future. Take the skills and knowledge that each class offers and run with it.
7. Get to know your classmates. Becoming friendly with classmates can not only help you throughout the semester but this is a skill that you will have to take with you into the real world. A lot of PR is meeting people and making those connections.
8. Don’t be afraid to be different and unique. If you have an idea or thought, run with it! While this profession does have a lot of structure, it also allows you to be creative.
9. Honesty is a huge part of public relations. In classes you may have to make up a quote or reference but in the real world this is not acceptable. It’s better to make it a habit so you don’t find yourself coming across problems in the future.
10. Keep up on current events. While it may be uncommon for most young people to watch the news, you should stay atop of what is going on. This is something everyone should do, not just restricted to PR students, but it is vital to know what is happening to companies, the government and local issues.
So Katie, I totally love number 2 on your list. I wish that I would have kept a bunch of stuff from my other classes. I just throw it all away when I am done with it, and now I wish I could go back and reference it all now. The thing that I love about what you said is that it sort of puts what you learn into your mind when you write it all down as opposed to looking information up online. By the same token, I have been able to create some of my best (or at least my favorite) class work by being inspired by the old projects and notes from former semesters.
Like at the beginning of this semester, Gina straight up said that she was not going to over some items about writing and mechanics because we are all past that in our education. Well, it would be nice if I had some of my notes from intro to PR for the times when I forget!
Paul, it pays to have those notes 🙂
Yes on all of these, but I like #8. I think far too often we feel inhibited and don’t take chances. PR professionals are creative and so when we come up with that “crazy” idea most of the time it’s a go. We just need to be confident enough in ourselves and ideas to present them.
Hello all! I can’t believe this is our last blog! (It’s the last one…right?)
Here is my list of top 10 tips for any PR student:
10) Know in your heart that you’re getting into something big and at times, overwhelming but not to worry–you’ll be OK.
9) Never call PR work. It’s too much fun to be work!
8) Remember people’s names–make it your duty to remember someone’s name the first time you hear it. It will impress people and make them feel important.
7) Don’t worry…ever! It’s just not worth it.
6) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes all you need is an extra set of hands or a word of clarity to get the wheels moving.
5) Don’t hesitate. Weigh the pros & cons of a situation and stick to your guns.
4) Smile–lots! A smile changes your whole attitude and subsequently, your work atmosphere.
3) Stay in touch with clients and contacts–you never know when you’ll be in need of something.
2) Be organized–this means more than a few post-its around the fridge. Stay on top of EVERYTHING!
1) Have a good time. Be true to yourself and your ethics and never budge from what you believe in.
I’m looking forward to using all of these tips in the real world! PR really can be a lot of fun…I’m happy to have been working with all of you!
Kristen, you are so cute. with #9 “PR isn’t work!” For the most part I agree, I usually feel very creative with public relations but sometimes it can be stressful. I also agree very strongly with remembering peoples names. This is huge and I think a lot of times this will determine on you make or breaking an interview. Smiling is definitely another big one. I really believe that your mental attitude and positivity makes such a difference. I think overall there is so much we can learn and we can only continue to learn. I really think this is a great and rewarding career to go into!
I think your list is awesome! The thing that I enjoyed most about it is the fact that all of these are tips that are not specific to PR… it’s a good top 10 list for LIFE! I think that you have a great outlook on the world and that if you employ these tips along with the skills you’ve learned in school, you will make a GREAT PR practitioner 🙂 Keep smiling and spreading your goodness into the world.
Here is my top 10 list!
1. Make sure you enjoy writing (I say this because this is the majority of the work you will be doing).
2. Keep in mind this is a tough business and you should enjoy interacting with people, being social and being forward (have gumption) when needed. (If you want to succeed in a business like this I really believe you should lean more to the extroverted side).
3. Target audience is key! (This is so important because this will determine if you know how to speak to the people you are trying to work with).
4. It will get easier even if it feels challenging or hard at the beginning.
At first I was very overwhelmed but now it comes so much easier!
5. Make sure you network, start this early! Socializing and networking is such a big part because if you need favors in the future it is good to know who you can look up and call.
6. Be consistent in your writing, but also have fun!
Consistency is important but it shouldn’t be mundane. You should love your writing and the work you do.
7. Adhere to deadlines. Deadlines are very important because again you want to have consistency with your progress and have a good reputable reputation.
8. Be aggressive when needed (ask questions). Backbone is important, I know sometimes you will have to stand up for yourself and you have to be able to handle difficult situations.
9. Enjoy the environment you are in and learn from people in the business. Mentors are awesome! It is great to have someone you can learn from.
10. Overall, make sure you understand PR mix; advertising, marketing, etc.
Understanding different elements is so important because this will help you understand PR better as well as become a better professional.
I love your 10th piece of advice. I didn’t even think of this when I was working through my list but I think it is one of the most important things is realizing how all of the elements work together within the multiple professions. It was one of the more difficult things for me to catch on to when I was first taking my PR classes. I was confused because it felt like the lines blurred between the fields. This is a good piece of advice. I also enjoy the first piece on your list. It is simple, yet it is vital to enjoying not only the classes, but the entire field.
The first thing I thought of was like a David Letterman Top 10, but I don’t really have anything that could be funny… I’m a little disappointed. Anyway…
1. You should understand by now that PR and journalism are NOT the same thing, that they follow two different writing styles. Journalism is around the facts, PR is positive spin. Don’t think like a journalist. Think what kinds of things a journalist would like to have for their story.
2. AP Style should be something you are at least somewhat familiar with. If not, pick up a stylebook or ask some professors about it.
3. Practice your writing. Even if you think you’re the next best thing, odds are you’re not. There is no such thing as having an upper hand. If you’re a journalism major heading into the class, be prepared to be a little challenged.
4. The class may be a little overwhelming at times, but try to remain calm as best you can. Gina definitely challenges you, but not in a way that is overbearing.
5. Deadlines are important. Get used to having them!
6. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. The answers will definitely pay off!
7. Start having connections with people in the real world if you don’t already. The skills related to that will come in handy whether you’re wanting to go into PR or something else.
8. If you’re passionate about having a career in PR, stay in touch with people you connect with. That includes people you meet now. It will pay off in the future.
9. For the journalism majors that take the class – try to stray away from your tendencies. It’s tough because we’re used to doing things a certain way. It is a lot different in PR than journalism. Take your journalist hat off before class and leave it off until afterwards.
10. Be creative with your ideas and have fun with them! This class is meant to prepare you for the PR world that is beyond the walls of EMU. Enjoy the challenge!
As a former PR student-turned journalist, I’ve learned a lot of things that would have been helpful to know in the beginning. Maybe I would have stuck with public relations if I had an idea of what I had to look forward to. But then again, maybe not 🙂 I love journalism, hehehe.
Top 10 Things PR Students Should Know.
1. Know what’s going on! Keep up on news and current events, particularly related to your company’s industry. If you know what the current trends are, it’s a lot easier to know when to pitch your stories and ideas to editors and maximize your exposure.
2. Realize that the relationships between journalists and PR professionals should be mutually beneficial. Don’t get caught up in the “us vs. them” way of thinking. Journalists need PR people for content and contact information and PR people need journalists to get their message out.
3. Know your target audience. If there’s one thing you should leave even your most basic PR class with, it’s this. If you don’t have a target audience or know what they want, your messages get lost and it’s a waste of time and energy for everyone involved.
4. Keep it short and sweet. Much like a journalist, a PR practitioner is taught to write succinctly. People are distracted and get bored easily. If you can’t say what you want to say in a few words, maybe you need to rethink and reword your message. Don’t bury it under a million words and fancy phrases. Short and sweet.
5. The most important “W” is “WHY”, as in “why the heck do I care about this?” When you’re writing, it’s always important to include the 5 W’s- who/what/when/where/why. But the WHY is what affects readers most. WHY is the new policy change happening? WHY do I need to know about this?
6. As much as you want to try to stay away from the “trend” of Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and Pinterest and (I could go on for days, but you get the point), JUST GIVE UP. It’s not a trend. Social media is not going anywhere. This is where your target audience is. This is where conversations are happening, whether you’re there or not. Learn how these outlets work. Use them to your advantage.
7. Know your craft. You are a writer so you should be good at it. Be able to edit and proofread your own work before submitting it to your boss(es). Know how to properly format your documents (whether they be press releases, media advisories, scripts, etc) and be familiar with AP style.
8. Do your homework. Before you go out and interview people, make sure you know what they do and what they are about. That way you can spend more time getting the really meaty quotes instead of trying to figure them out. You should also make sure that you know who you’re pitching your ideas to… Know their editorial schedule, what topics they typically focus on, WHO to pitch your idea to, etc. The more you know, the more likely your story is to be picked up.
9. Research, research, research. Make sure that before you put anything out into the public, you know demographic information, trends and expectations of your audience. Know your competitors and what they are up to. Research EVERYTHING! You HAVE to know what you’re talking about!
10. Plan, plan, plan. Do not think that you can whip something up and send it straight to print. Flesh out your stories by brainstorming, outlining and researching. Do not send out a document that’s not the very best thing that you can create.
you made some awesome points. though i am annoyed with social media. i understand it is not going anywhere no time soon. i agree always have a plan know what you want to do and how you want to get it done. Know your craft!! love it spend time improving your craft! we should never get to a point that we know every thing! always be willing to learn something new. everything on your listen i working towards becoming better at but it take a lot commitment to your craft and it can be frustrating at times . but overall great list!
1. Never let Gina see you cry. It will be okay. It gets easier.
2. Write concisely and clearly. Get your point across in as few words as possible but never sacrifice clarity.
3. Newsworthy is the word of the day. Make sure you look for your hook. Everything has a story, you just have to find it.
4. Study your AP Stylebook. It seems like a lot but if you keep working, you can get used to writing in this style.
5. Your target audience is everything. If you don’t know who you are writing to, it doesn’t matter what you are writing.
6. Read, re-read and read again. Never forget to revise your writing. There is always a way to change, fix, shorten or correct your own work.
7. Social media seems ridiculous when you start but it couldn’t be more important to the industry. Make sure you take it seriously.
8. Stay in touch. Do this at all levels. Stay in touch with contacts. Stay in touch with clients. Stay in touch with your public. Stay in touch with the industry.
9. When you come into the classes for PR writing, be prepared to make drastic changes in your writing style. Writing for PR is unlike writing for English classes or journalism classes.
10. Have fun. This is an exciting field and it can be a lot of fun but if you let it, it can stress you out. If you don’t stay on your toes it will chew you up.
Alex, your #8 was great:
“8. Stay in touch. Do this at all levels. Stay in touch with contacts. Stay in touch with clients. Stay in touch with your public. Stay in touch with the industry.”
PR is so quickly changing, it is important to stay up to date on technologies and practices. As for your clients and contacts, remaining in contact will help you build relationships down the road and strengthen the ones you have right now. Great advice!
And a drum roll please, my top 10 tip for people new to public relations and public relations writing.
1. Journalists are not your friends; I learned that one from Gina.
2. Become very organized, PR can be quite stressful and something as easy as a planner or calendar can be the difference between passing and failing.
3. Keep all the text books you buy. In all of the public relations classes I have taken here at eastern; every book I was required to buy was useful and are good to keep around.
4. Networking! This is key and you should start early. I’m not saying you should start with companies, but with teachers and your fellow public relations students.
5. Practice your writing skills, especially if you are like me, I did not know what AP style was until I was thrown in to the heat of it, and it can seem very overwhelming. Practice makes perfect and that is no joke.
6. Start reading newspapers and watching the news. It really helps out once you start to lean about things like what newsworthy really is and how as public relations practitioners it will be vital to our success.
7. One thing I think is key is learn what ethics is, and how it pertains to you. If you can go in early with a clear definition of your morals and what you deem ethical I think you can have a leg-up on the competition.
8. Learn the basics of graphic design and how to make a website. I wish I would have known this coming in to public relations. The sooner you start on this the easier it will become.
9. Start looking into internships early. The more you can take over the course of you PR career will make it easier for you to find a job when you graduate.
10. Last but not least, Associated Press Style book= Bible. This book can save your life. Read it, study it, become it.
1. Learn how to write in AP style
2. Practice writing join a student org and become their publicist of some sort. put what you are learning in action.
3. create a niche for yourself. everything need public relations of some sort. so why not do it for some you like or enjoy.
4. Journalistic are your friend i don’t care what anyone tells you! pr professionals need journalist just as much as a journalist needs a pr professionals. don’t don’t each profession because we all use similar tools to get the job done.
5. Network as much as you can. learn to ask as many questions.
6. Social media my be popular. but it is still important to know how to do the basic pr per social media.
7. Never stop learning.
8. Take as many journalism classes as you can how else do you become a great writer or get comfortable using AP Style.
9. keep up with the trends follow thing that are of your interest so you can become ans expert in something.
10. stay true yourself and your passion. you know why you got in to this career field. don’t let one teacher or class create doubt in your mind as to if you can do this or not. Learn to let what things go through one ear and out the other. always believe in your talent
Dee, I agree greatly with your #3:
“3. create a niche for yourself. everything need public relations of some sort. so why not do it for some you like or enjoy.”
This is great advice because PR is so broad and it is important to personally be invested in what you are writing and representing. This is something that has carried me through the many classes I have considered dropping. But, because of my future dream to use PR in music, I simply am not stopping.
1) AP Stylebook- Reference it often. Once you start checking your edits in the AP Stylebook, you will soon find that you will start to memorize many different things in the book.
2) Don’t be intimidated- Many of the releases, memos, and pitches seem very formal and intimidating if you haven’t done them in the past. Find a layout for the document you are trying to create and fill it out. You will eventually find your way of doing it.
3) Don’t be afraid to ask for help- This is something I’m not even good at. PR can be very stressful and overwhelming with the sometimes very short deadlines and specific format for some documents but ask if you need help, that’s what professors are there for.
4) Take a Journalism class- You will find that much of the writing you do in journalism classes transfers well to PR writing and will solidify your AP style.
5) Learn to write for the ear- PR writing doesn’t have the same style loose writing like poetry does but it is important to tell the public what is important in a nice, palatable way.
6) Keep a file of examples in your computer- This can be very helpful because the format and layout of most PR writing is crucial.
7) Keep your ear to the ground- PR is one of the fastest changing professions and is quick to adopt new tools and ways of doing things.
8) Keep on Tweetin’- Learn to use the social media sites you are on. It may come as a surprise but some PR professionals get paid to play on Facebook all day (I know, your mom was wrong).
9) Find passion for what you are writing about- Even if you can’t personally relate to the angle of the story, place yourself in the shoes of the people involved. If you don’t find it to be important, neither will your reader.
10) Stick with it- There are a lot of aspects to PR and not all of them will come easy right away. Just because you may struggle with one doesn’t mean you should give up on the whole thing. Stick with it, even if it takes a while.