Landed Your First Role in PR? Advice for Beginners.

So you've done it: you have secured your first PR role! Well done on this milestone achievement.

What now? What can you expect? How can you make an impact?

Here are some tips to help you take your first steps in your new career.

We've a companion piece here with general advice on leaving your old job, and settling in smoothly to a new office and new organisation.

Write good Press Releases

When you first start out you will be asked to draft lots of press releases. After time you will be able to do these in your sleep, but until then it is a learning curve.  You will feel under pressure at first because these are so important and must be right in all these ways: accurate, factual, relevant and written for the target market and publication.

First, disregard marketing jargon, and think about the reader.

Particularly, ask yourself:

  • What is the story?
  • Who is the target audience (for instance is it B2B or B2C)?
  • What will make people interested in your clients' product/brand?

Press releases at heart must be truly newsworthy: a real story, and something current.

You want a journalist engage with your press release and they are busy people who want short, sharp and factual content.

The key questions for the reader are 'WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY'. Cover these always in the first paragraph. Make sure the most important information – the news – is at the top of the release.

Journalists are sent hundreds of press releases, and if their attention isn't grabbed by the headline and opening paragraph then they will fling it to one side, and you’ve lost your chance of coverage.

Demonstrate sound organisational skills

If you are agency side you will be working across numerous accounts, so you must get good at managing your time and organising your workload. You will need to learn to prioritise, juggle tasks and have the confidence to push back, manage colleagues' and clients' expectations. This is key to being a great team member.

Our tips:

  • Always start the day with a to-do list;
  • Use a weekly planner;
  • Stick to the job in hand and focus;
  • Communication is key, keep your team informed;
  • Be realistic about what you can achieve in the time you have.

Give memorable presentations

You will see that as you grow in confidence so will your presenting skills. Presenting is all part of the PR world. Don't worry if the first time your knees knock, and your hands sweat, and your heart races, I promise it does get easier.

Your first presentation is likely to be average, but you will improve and quickly. Your role in a presentation is to keep the audience interested and engaged and have a clear focus on the key messages you want to deliver.  

Our tips:

  • Practise – in your bedroom, or sit your family or friends down (you may find it's harder with them than a room full of strangers).
  • Before you start, breathing techniques can calm any nerves.
  • Check your equipment beforehand - you don’t want to be stressing about this with a room full of people watching you.
  • Make sure you can be heard.
  • Have good energy and tone of voice, and ideally stand up to speak.
  • Don't rush it - keep at a natural pace.
  • Don't try to be someone else. Bring your own personality to the presentation - that way you will be more relaxed.
  • Try not to stare at your slides or visuals, but look at your audience (especially to make key points).
  • Don't focus on one person - look around the room.
  • Engage with your audience, and learn how to read people.

Learn the art of Account Management

Managing clients is a key part of agency work. You might also manage external and internal stakeholders. You have to learn how to develop strong relationships. Being a chameleon can make you an effective client manager: adapt your style to the person you are dealing with. Work on understanding their character and building a rapport with them.  

How do you build relationships with clients?  

  • Read all about your client and become a news fiend. You will be expected to know what your clients are doing in the industry so take interest.
  • Understand their needs, understand their culture.
  • Feedback and updates are really important.
  • Always be honest - if you make a mistake, own it.
  • Give carefully considered advice, and don't be afraid to say "I don't know, but I will find out".
  • Go beyond your role: think about your client and what they might need. Little touches will go a long way.
  • Be good at what you do really hone your skills as a PR consultant.

These are just some tips to navigate you through your first few years in PR. You’ll soon be a superstar and one of the most-trusted advisors around. Enjoy the journey and we hope that we can assist you along your career path!

For more advice or tips please feel free to call the PRFutures team on 0203 303 0476.