The recession hit many PR professionals hard. However, turn that frown upside down, baby, because we have some proven techniques to bring out the PR guru in you! First and foremost, make sure you always look the part, ie. dress nicely. Next, secure a meeting, preferably a face-to-face one, with the folks you are interested in connecting with and establishing as clients. After, fully-develop a strategy incorporating these tips:
1. Focus on the Details
Whether it's crafting a pitch, creating a press release, or writing a speech, pay attention to the details. In today's world, where everything needs to be done yesterday, it's easy to let details slip through the cracks. Proofread your content, make sure the emails you send are addressed to the right person, and don't forget to link to your clients' websites. These may seem like no-brainers, but I don't know how many times I've received emails from reps without supporting links or documentation, or that are addressed to the wrong person. These details matter, and can be the difference between landing coverage for your client, or having your release end up in the trash.
2. Keep Learning
If you ever get to a point where you think there's nothing left to learn, that's a surefire sign of trouble. There's always something else to learn, even if you don't think it's directly related to your field. Attend relevant PR workshops, pursue your Master's Degree, and look for conferences within your field. Never lose your thirst for knowledge—it could signal the end of an otherwise promising career.
3. Position Yourself as an Expert
Post stellar content on your social media outlets to build trust as an expert in public relations. Seek out speaking engagements to show off your knowledge, and start a blog to highlight your success. These strategies can boost your career and open up more avenues for future growth.
4. Embrace Your Mistakes
Everyone screws up occasionally, and as a PR professional, it's essential that you own your mistakes. Your clients know you're human, so by admitting an error rather than hiding it, they're likely to trust you more. When you do make a mistake, own it, come up with a plan for preventing it in the future, and address it head-on with those who are affected. You'll be respected more for the effort.
5. Find or Become a Mentor
Are you a young buck just getting started in the PR field? Work with a senior employee to be mentored in the field. If you've been in the business for years, take a newbie under your wing and show him or her the ropes. Both strategies can enhance your career, expose you to new methods, and boost your reputation in the industry.
6. Develop Your Online Brand
When was the last time you Googled yourself? You want to make sure your online reputation is flattering. If you see something untoward, check with Reputation.com for guidance on how to improve your personal brand. Whether you're thinking about a career change, or you're trying to land new clients, you have to expect that others will look you up before they start a professional relationship with you.
Just like most things in life, no one is going to manage your career for you—your boss is too busy, and your coworkers are worried about their own careers. If you're not sure how to take charge of your professional life, consider enlisting a career coach to help you map out your goals and plan for the future. Otherwise, dust off that power suit and make sure you are looking fresh: hit the town and secure that client, baby.