100 Days in PR: What I wish I had known

This article was originally going to be called ‘Three Months in PR’ but it turns out that as of today I have been in PR for exactly 100 days and that just sounds much cooler.

The last three months have gone by quickly and since it is somewhat of a milestone for me and my budding career, I wanted to reflect on the time by focusing on what I’ve learnt over the period.

Over my first two weeks at Babel, I was bombarded with advice and information that was going to help me hit the ground running, but it’s one thing to be told something and another to experience it.

I must have been told ten times that publication editors aren’t variations of J. Jonah James from Spiderman, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t take a minute to psych myself up before I dialled their number.

Here’s some advice I was given when I started that took 100 days to sink in.

Quality over Quantity

As a consultant at Babel, you want to do your best to deliver as much possible for your clients and impress the rest of your team. But I’ve learnt that you can’t let that desire to impede the quality of the pitch.

You can send out dozens of emails and call every journalist on your list but if you haven’t put in enough time to work on the pitch and do the research on who you are reaching out to then you might end up on the wrong side of quite an embarrassing phone call.

Put in the time to understand what you are pitching and think about what angles would interest different publications. When it comes to media relations, a catch-all strategy is an oxymoron.

You can always know your client better

Before I got to formally meet my clients, I spent time trawling through their website, read their blogs, white papers, and other material I could find, this was a good start but it was still very surface level.

Over the last 100 days I’ve learnt significantly more about my clients from the calls we have, the feedback they give, and the stories they’re interested in.

Based on this information it would be naïve of me to say that I fully understand my clients. Imagine if I spent 100 days working in their offices, what would my level of understanding be then?

Whilst I probably can’t do that, I can continue to pay close attention to what my clients are saying and the way they are saying it because the better you understand your client the more effective you can be.

Don’t worry so much

It’s important to care about your work, if you don’t then you aren’t going to get very far with it. But if you beat yourself up over it you’ll get stressed and other areas of your work will suffer.

Like all things, PR has a learning curve and people aren’t going to expect me to be on the same level as others who have been in working in the sector to a very high standard for three, ten, or twenty years.

If you focus on demonstrating the skills and attributes that you have, the skills and attributes that got you a job in PR in the first place, you’ll be doing your job well. Much of what makes a good PR comes with experience.

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