For a profession built on reputation management, the PR industry has some complex reputation issues of its own. We’re classified as everything from champagne quaffing Edina Monsoons to spin doctors and workaholics.
Thankfully our clients and media contacts understand and value the work we do.
So much so, that one of them decided to write a piece about us and our leader. Thank you to Greg Bruce and Canvas magazine for your piece ‘Is this Auckland’s most influential woman?’, an honest and unbridled look at a supreme ‘influencer’.
So what does it take to cut it in the PR industry? Here’s some thoughts from the team at Pead PR on how to excel in our profession:
1. Be a sea of knowledge with a metre of depth. That’s not to say PR people are shallow but we do need to know a little about a lot. When it comes to general knowledge there are few people that can beat us at Trivial Pursuit.
2. Perfect the art of looking completely in control even if the walls are falling down.
3. Be fleet of foot. News media deadlines can be short and you won’t be given a month to perfect your response.
4. Perfect your relationship skills – you will need to be able to build rapport with people from all walks of life (media, influencers, peers, competitors) some of whom you will love and others you won’t. Build your network, respect it and maintain it for life.
5. Learn to manage stress and enjoy working under pressure.
6. Be able to handle rejection. Perseverance and mental toughness will be your best friends and during your career you will build a skin thicker than a rhinoceros’s.
7. Have a genuine passion for news and media, naturally keep up with an industry where change is constant.
8. Develop an internal crystal ball. Be able to think in the now while also foreseeing what the future may hold.
9. Learn how to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. Your clients’ expectations will sometimes be bigger than their budgets.
10. Perfect the art of diplomacy – you will need it when you advise clients their expectations of a “front page story” are actually of a page zero story.
11. Have courage – not only to protect your clients when they are under fire but also to correct the media when they get it wrong.
12. Be accurate – your network will trust you as a source if your facts and information are 100 percent accurate, all the time.
13. Learn to keep it brief – you need to pitch your angle in the first 60 seconds. Once you hear that keyboard clacking your pitch has gone backwards. The late Paul Holmes used to say “keep it light, tight and brief”. It’s a code to live by in the constantly busy world of media.
This article was originally published on the Pead PR Blog, by group account director Becky Erwood and senior writer David Paine.