Tag Archives: pr professional

How to date a PR professional

Ragan.com posted this great article yesterday: How to Date a PR Professional by Laetitia Redbond, an account executive at Flagship Consulting in London. (Just in case the link dies, here’s a link to her original post.)

In a nutshell, she gives four points of advice for dating one of us PR creatures: 1) our relationships are our top priority; 2) we’re very positive; 3) we know what’s hot and what’s not; 4) and we’re incredibly efficient.

Here are some more:

  • This one goes along the lines of “we’re very positive,” but it’s a little different: We hesitate to give you a yes or a no. My father, for example, asked me recently if I liked something he had recommended (I don’t remember what it was; probably something like a potato chip), and instead of just saying no, I danced around the answer, first pointing out its good qualities before gently laying down my no. Yes, that can be infuriating. No, it’s not always a good trait. But yes, sometimes it’s necessary, especially when working with clients. Soft landings are important.
  • In her article, Laetitia says “…there will never be an awkward silence over dinner when we’re around, ever.” This goes along the same lines: We’re a talkative bunch. Excitable, with a lot of hand gestures and facial expressions. So, at a dinner party, watch your drink. I knocked over a glass of water on Saturday night almost into a woman’s lap.
  • We’re sympathetic. We can’t watch the news, read a magazine article, or listen to you talk about the argument you had with your mom without wishing you or that poor corporation had consulted us first so we could have given you some strategic communication pointers before you got yourself into a deep mess. We may even offer you (another) business card for the next time.
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So you want to study PR? Tips for college students

Earlier this week, Sheyda, a college sophomore, read and commented on my post about recent college grads wanting to get into PR. She’s in the middle of her bio-med studies, and she feels her future being pulled toward a career in PR: “My passion lies with the drive to build relationships with people and companies/businesses,” she told me. “I want to switch my major to Public Relations as soon as I can. Is there any advice you can give me? To be honest, one of the reasons I haven’t switched is because I’m scared of the job market.”

I’d like to share my response to her question here, for anyone else in a similar situation. In a nutshell: do your homework, then follow your gut!

To Sheyda: I think you need to follow your gut instinct here, ultimately, but first, I think you should explore PR and marketing a little more to make sure it’s what you really want to do. Networking and making people feel at ease is a fun and wonderful part of PR, and I’m so glad you’re good at it and feel comfortable doing it. That’s very important.

So next, do a few things: pick up a copy of The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott. The third edition is out now; I actually just bought it and haven’t had a chance to read it! David is an excellent PR professional and a great writer and teacher. If after you finish reading this you find that you’ve dog-eared, highlighted and made notes all over the book, then I think a PR major should be in your future.

You should also subscribe to one of the many industry e-newsletters out there. Ragan.com has some great newsletters that might be a good starting point.

Being worried about the job market is a smart to do, to a certain point, but we can’t let it stop us from following our dreams. PR is diverse, and just about every type of business and industry needs a communications professional. Higher education, public broadcasting, banking, non-profits, construction, the entertainment industry…most places have marketing and communications divisions and offices.

And if you’re interested in freelancing or building your own boutique, then the time to start is now. In addition to your studies at Auburn, start doing work for clients – campus groups, become PR chair of your sorority, local organizations, causes, etc – and begin building your professional profile and portfolio.

I think it also will benefit you to take some journalism classes and spend a semester on the campus newspaper, so you get the experience working as the folks you’ll be working with in the future should you delve into media relations. In fact, interning at a local newspaper might not be a bad idea, if you have the time, in addition to definitely shadowing/interning at either PR agencies or with a communications professional.

I’m so excited for Sheyda to be embarking upon a potential PR career!

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