STARTING OUT IN THE PR REALM
If you’re new to PR and you’re still trying to figure out which path is best for you, agencies are a great way to help you learn more about the industry while surrounding yourself with a group of experienced PR professionals who can help you expand your knowledge and strengthen your skills.
As an intern for BPR, I found agency life to be extremely helpful when I was trying to apply my learnings in the classroom to the real world. For each new task that came my way, I was presented with past templates for press releases and pitches to guide my writing along with plenty of instructions and a heap of support from my colleagues.
Like any industry, you get out of PR what you put into it, so it’s important to continue learning and volunteering to help with projects you haven’t done before. One of the best parts about working in an agency is that everything is interconnected. You don’t just get assigned to one small corner of PR forever; rather, you get to participate in the entire PR conversation, from social media to influencer and media relations. Each of these areas works toward a unified vision for the brand’s overall success, so every piece of copy that you write will be cohesive and on-strategy.
Now that you know a little bit more about the industry, I wanted to share a few takeaways from the PR world to help you as you navigate your next steps:
- Agencies are a great place to learn from a group of talented PR professionals.
When it comes to the decision between doing PR in-house or going with an agency, I highly recommend going the agency route. Fresh out of college with limited real-world experience, it can be hard to craft an entire marketing plan for a brand on your own. With an agency, you have the wisdom and experience of an entire group of PR professionals to help you deliver a truly spectacular marketing plan. Working in-house can be tricky because you have a limited number of resources to turn to for advice, clarification or brainstorming.
- PR isn’t your regular 9 to 5.
Unlike some jobs where the workday ends promptly at 5 p.m., and you can shut off your laptop and your brain until tomorrow, PR is a constant process. This is mainly due to the fact that PR is about building relationships, and those relationships take time. You can’t just cut someone off in the middle of a conversation because you’ve hit five o’clock. Journalists and editors are people with hopes and worries and lives of their own, and to build a relationship with them, you have to acknowledge this and be okay with your schedule being a little outside of the norm occasionally.
- Personalize, always.
One of the most important aspects of successful PR is personalizing your message for the individual you’re working with. PR gets a bad rap for those few practitioners who decide to send mass emails to journalists and expect a response. Though this may seem like smart time management, mass emails can be extremely detrimental to those budding relationships you’re supposed to be forming with journalists. This is a profession that prioritizes people, not time. Be sure to personalize your messages by checking in on each journalist and showing them how your message will be relevant to their current work.
I’m sure there are many more takeaways to add to this list, but as I’m still learning, I’ll have to report back later.
Written by Abigail Brown, a recent graduate of CU Boulder and intern with BPR during the spring 2023 semester.