Skills & Expertise

5 Secrets to Success in Public Relations

Landed an entry-level job in PR? Here’s how to rock it

Getting a job in public relations can seem difficult, but once you’ve got that gig, you’ve just accepted a whole new challenge. It’s time to prove yourself and show you’ve got the chops. To help you out, we reached out to some PR pros and asked them to share the best advice they’ve learned over their careers in the industry. Soak it all in.

1. Foster strong relationships with journalists.

“Treat the media the way you’d like to be treated. Take the time to get to know writers and editors and their work; don’t just blast them with a standard pitch.” –Diane Zuniga, global campaign manager for Babel PR

“My secret weapon has always been to say ‘Nice to see you’ as opposed to ‘Nice to meet you’ because it implies you’re important enough to recall… even if you’ve never met. [Journalists] will silently curse themselves for being forgetful and give you whatever you want. It works every time.” –Alana Yankowitz, publicist at Ink Public Relations

2. Embrace rejection.

“Learning how to take rejection as a way to grow your media and client skills will only strengthen your relationships and network.” –Stacy Berns, founder and president of Berns Communications Group

3. Support your coworkers.

“Your job as an entry-level team member is to take some of the load off your new teammates. If you are not delivering for your teammates, you won’t have to wait for your boss to get mad; your team will likely throw you overboard if you are dead weight.” –Mike Harris, co-founder of Uproar PR

4. Recognize you don’t know it all…

“Be confident about the things you do well and humble enough to admit when you have no idea what you’re doing. Showing people you know the difference will make them trust your instincts, and your strengths will become your calling card, making you invaluable.” –Alana Yankowitz

“The most successful people I know in PR have incredibly open minds. In 18 years working in media and PR, I have never seen a know-it-all make it to the top. PR changes every day with new technology and techniques, and if you can’t embrace those changes, you won’t last very long.” –Mike Harris

5. …And learn as much as you can.

“Be open and fully committed to learning… you’re bound to excel in one area over the others (such as media, strategy or client relations), but commit to developing the entire PR skill set, and success will follow.” –Stacy Berns

“Great PR people take the time to read, analyze and understand the market and media they interact with. Where is the market heading? Why will the company matter five or 10 years down the line? What is being built today that will shape the world of tomorrow? A forward-looking mindset encourages you to constantly think strategically.” –Diane Zuniga

Looking to get your foot in the door and launch your PR career? Mediabistro’s online class, Fundamentals of Public Relations, covers all the basics, from crafting press releases to determining which jobs and firms to target in your job search.

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