What I Wish I Knew About PR Before I Became a Pro


One of the best ways to learn how to do something better, faster and more strategically is by asking a pro, and that's exactly what we did for you over at Tin Shingle this week.  Not only did we ask a handful of PR rock stars how to do things better, we asked them what they wish they'd known about doing PR before they spent years honing their skills and perfecting their craft.  What a great way for you to save yourself from months or years of trial and error.  Read on, learn from our pros, and continue building buzz like a seasoned professional!  Bonus Prize: When you're done reading their tips, click on their faces and names and connect with them in real time via Twitter.

Jordan Landes Brenman of Haute House PR Jordan Landes Brenman of Haute House PR
Regardless of whether you're a one-person show, or have multiple employees in your business, don't ever doubt that you're worthy of the same press placements as everyone else. Don't wait until you feel that you're "big enough" to chase down press placements. Oftentimes, I'll talk to emerging brands who have all of the elements in place - a great company, mission, product...but because THEY know they are a small business, they don't feel as though they are WORTHY of national or celebrity press placements. Don't forget that no one knows how small you might be behind-the-scenes. You should always brand yourself like the big guns, while always maintaining that same small business attention to detail. Have confidence!
Jeremy Pepper Jeremy Pepper
The biggest thing is the push for life/work balance (which isn't an easy thing to do in public relations or social media in a 24-hour news cycle). It's about making time for yourself and doing what you need to do for peace of mind. So that's setting a schedule for yourself to take breaks - lunch (even if it means leaving to buy it and still eating at your desk) and a stop time at night to go to the gym, yoga, anything to clear your mind.
Kelly Kepner Kelly Kepner of Kelly Kepner PR
Be nice to everyone you meet.  A stylist assistant may someday be dressing A List celebs.  The intern in the fashion closet may be promoted to fashion director in the future.  That brand that is similar to yours may present a fabulous opportunity for you down the road.  Always be polite and try to develop as many personal relationships as possible.  People are more incline to help a friend or someone they have close ties with.
Jenna Barnett of Visionary5 Jenna Barnett of Visionary5
When I first started in PR, I wish I knew that you find more success when you don't play by the rules. As soon as I stopped trying to pitch the way all publicists pitch, I found so much more success in my communication with editors and journalists. Don't be afraid to try an out-of-the-box or silly pitch. If you can make a journalist laugh or catch their attention with a clever subject line, they'll most likely respond to your email. A few other things I wish I knew when I first started: The importance of brevity in pitches (and all emails for that matter), making sure to only send pitches to the appropriate editors, and doing my own research [outside of a database] to find the right journalist to pitch.
Nadine Jolson Desirae Vivian of Jolson Creative
Always do your research. Journalists will hammer it home that that is there biggest pet peeve with PR people, while getting to know who you are pitching is crucial, it goes beyond that. You also need to know who you are as a brand, personality, etc. and how you want to be perceived in the world so you need to build your PR to support that, which is where our background in journalism and image building/brand marketing comes in to play.

Knowledge is invaluable because it benefits everyone in the end from clients, to you as a professional, and going the extra mile to get to know your industry and who you are as the brand is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Effective communication is key. While it seems like such a simple concept, it can make all the difference in a situation.

Lastly, surround yourself with people who will push you to do better. It will make you a better professional in all aspects and the drive to succeed is infectious.

Christina Perez Christine Perez of the S3 Agency
I wish I knew the importance of small gestures. Helping a journalist with a source, retweeting a story, and sending a thank you note are all small things that can go a long way in building relationships.
Stephanie Scott of First and Last PR Stephanie Scott of First and Last PR
I wish that I would have known which questions to ask before signing up to sponsor a celebrity event. Live events and gifting suites are great because you get to showcase your products to a high level audience in one spot - most will give you the opportunity to interact with celebrities and media - but really needed to be vetted before committing to do them. For newer businesses, there are a lot of associated costs involved to consider including travel, staffing, etc that will also add to the cost. Now, I weigh the long-term goals of tour PR plan and the guaranteed ROI before committing. I also make sure to incorporate a social media plan for each event so that we can maximize on the experience.

Have any tips that you'd like to share?  Leave them in the comments below!