This is part of a series of posts related to my professional career. You can read part 1; part 2; part 3
Hey guys! If you’re interested in pursuing a career in PR (or marketing, as both tend to overlap, esp. social media marketing), these are my tips (though they can certainly be transferred to any field or industry you’re interested in pursuing!):
Get an internship. Some schools have internship programs where counselors develop relationships with employers and help match you and prepare you for the interview. Check with your campus’ career center or your school’s job boards. Alternately, if there is a place you want to intern at and they are not openly seeking interns, email their HR rep with a kick-ass cover letter explaining why they should take you on as an intern. Also, don’t underestimate the power of your social network. Put it out there, via the WWW, or through word of mouth, that you’re searching for a PR internship. You never know who your old high school buddy knows (or where she works!). If you’re out of school and simply cannot work for free, the next best thing is using your spare time to learn as much as possible about the industry, which you can do via the items below:
Start reading trade-related blogs & online news sites. These are my faves:
- Ad Age - A global source of news, intelligence and conversation for marketing and media communities.
- Copy Blogger – Great resource for anyone who writes content for the world to see. You’ll learn how to improve your writing, improve SEO, & get people returning to read your posts. Great posts include 5 Things Depeche Mode Can Teach You About Effective Online Marketing, 21 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue & The Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misused Words.
- Danny Brown – Written by Danny Brown, who is VP, Product Intelligence at Jugnoo Inc., an internet and media technology company for consumers and business. He is an award-winning marketer and blogger & author of The Parables of Business. You can learn the rules from Danny and then begin to break them as Erika, above, does.
- Mashable – Social media news & tips.
- Muck Rack – The Muck Rack Daily analyzes what journalists are saying in a daily email that has become a must read for journalists.
- Peter Shankman – Peter is that wild and unpredictable guy whose thoughts on customer service and marketing can at times seem crazy – but that’s just because he’s usually two steps ahead of the rest us and we’re having a hard time catching up. This could also be because he’s an adrenaline junkie with ADHD. He’s the guy who makes his travel schedule public and invites people to meet him for coffee when he’s in their city. He’s also the guy that invented the coveted HARO. I’m currently reading his book on Customer Service and loving it.
- PR Daily - A site after my own heart, PR Daily offers industry news with a side of snark. Cool articles include “What Does a Social Media Manager Do All Day?” I love their Facebook page because their posts are hilarious and snarky. Plus, they ask questions like, “what is your biggest challenge as a PR person?” and it’s awesome to see the responses, to opine & to commiserate
- PR Week – Industry news & opinion.
- Redhead Writing – Erika Napoletano is blunt about marketing and she has a weekly column called “Bitch Slap.” If you want to shake yourself out of your comfort zone – it’s good for you – you’ll enjoy this blog; you’ll also probably start to hate yourself a little for not coloring outside of the lines more. Turn that self-hate into creativity!
- Social Media Examiner – Lots of social media how-to.
- Spin Sucks – Social media strategy & PR tips from from Gini Dietrich of Arment Dietrich
Start acting like a PR person. Pretend you are a PR person by becoming aware of, and perusing, resources geared towards the profession. These are a few sites to check out:
- Blogger linkup – Sign up for their free daily newsletter to see bloggers seeking posts, or writers offering posts to bloggers. It’s a way for people to swap content and get online exposure.
- HARO – Sign up for their free daily newsletter where journalists advertise pitches they’re writing and the types of sources they need. This is a great way to see what journalists write for which publications, what stories are trending (based on the pitches), and a way to get the names of freelance writers who are just as key to press as journalists are.
- Media Bistro - A website connecting journalists and new media professionals to jobs and each other. Has resources for freelancers, classes, and great tips on how to pitch the media.
Refine your writing skills. You learn a few things quickly in PR – how not to pitch someone (i.e. blindly, without doing your research beforehand, misspelling the reporter’s name, etc.), but one of the greatest assets of any PR person is their writing skills. If you can’t properly convey a message or tailor your pitch to your intended audience, you’ve gotta study up. One of the best things you can do now to improve your writing is to a) practice and b) read, especially the sources above (particularly Copy Blogger).
Anyone have anything to add?
The Cranky One