So You Want to Be in PR…

LCI’s Account Supervisor Catherine Topping tackles a few burning questions about PR:

Every week, LCI receives dozens of resumes from college students and recent graduates who are curious about the public relations field. Since we can’t answer every thoughtful note sent our way, I thought I’d answer some of the more common questions we receive about our field.

As David Landis is fond of reminding us, public relations is the art of connecting a client’s product or expertise with what is newsworthy to create a relevant story. Here are some tips:

· What major skills and attributes are necessary to succeed in PR?

Successful PR professionals are extremely organized, persistent and outgoing. One should be able to adapt to changing circumstances and absorb new information quickly. Strong writing skills and clear communication strategies are also keys to success. It helps to be realistic about goals, and to be confident when presenting a story to a reporter or explaining a tactic to a client.

· PR is closely linked to the media, so how (specifically) do you become familiar with the media — and which outlets do you use?

This is a great question and one of the key factors for success. Any good PR person absorbs a tremendous amount of media information throughout their day. Considering that PR professionals are responsible for pitching and placing stories in newspapers, blogs and on TV/radio, being familiar with the content of each outlet is crucial. So, reading the regional and national newspapers every day to see what is leading the news cycle, checking influential blogs throughout the day, and flipping through the TV newscasts are all vital. They help keep you “in the know” so you can continue to find appropriate story ideas for your clients.

· How much research and analysis is involved? In what situations are these tasks required?

Research and analytic skills are extremely important. I constantly research previous coverage of topics that are relevant to my clients. I also analyze the reporting on competitors to identify opportunities to position my clients differently. We also use various metrics to track our success on behalf of our clients in order to prove our value to the client’s bottom-line goals.

· Are there any myths or assumptions about PR that you would like to validate or disprove?

Many assume that all PR representatives will automatically “spin” bad news. One can address a tough situation on behalf of a client without being dishonest about the facts.

· What is your favorite part about working in PR?

I love that I get to learn so much from my clients. As a partner, agency PR professionals have the opportunity to get an inside look at a variety of industries and companies. I also enjoy working with the many talented reporters and editors around the country to put together informative stories that offer audiences helpful information or inspiring ideas.

And, on a personal note, it is with regret that I share with our blog readers that this is my last week with Landis Communications, Inc. It has been a pleasure to work with the extremely talented and passionate team lead by David Landis. I’m moving to a new position across town, but I’ll never be far away. I look forward to new challenges and adventures! Email me via [email protected] or [email protected].

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4 Comments

  1. david Reply

    Catherine – we will miss you, one of the greatest media pitchers of all time. Thanks for your insight, your hard work and your “can-do” attitude. We will welcome you back to LCI when you’re tired of the “big agency” life. Cheers, David

  2. Sarah Reply

    Terrific post, Catherine. You’ll be missed!

  3. Jordana Reply

    Catherine — thank you for this informative and well-written post. To comment on your sign-off note: you will truly be missed! -Jordana

  4. Donna Reply

    Thanks, Catherine! Great insight to the many folks out there who want to know what it’s like to work in the business.