If you’re someone who wants to know how to get into public relations right now, you’ve come to the right place. My back story is that I used to be a lawyer and decided it wasn’t the career path for me, so I decided to get into PR and start my own agency. It’s been 15 years since I made that decision. My PR agency is successful and I want to show you how you can build a career and be successful too.
It may seem overwhelming when you start thinking about how to get into public relations, but I have some simple steps to help you break into PR, hone your skills, and master your craft. You will need to focus on solid fundamentals as your foundation.
Becoming an expert in a certain area and niching down is an important foundational step to building a business. If you’re a generalist, you end up serving nobody.
When you niche down and develop your expertise in a certain area, it helps you create good solid contacts with the media. You’ll go back to the same contacts over and over and build good relationships.
Developing expertise in a specific niche helps you dive deep into the subject matter you need. Over time this increased learning in your niche allows you to charge more. You can have high-end clients and consistent recurring retainer revenue.
Find the area that you really enjoy and where you can serve the type of audience and customer that you’ll love to work with. When you’re passionate about your niche, that passion comes through in your pitching.
You actually don’t have to choose only one niche or industry. We have 3 niches in my business which are baby and kids, beauty and cosmetics, and health and wellness. We have billion-dollar clients in each of those niches.
But we’re not all things to all people. We don’t do fashion or tech. We have specific areas that we developed our expertise in.
You want to be the go-to person or agency for the certain niches you choose.
Be clear on who you serve and what you offer before you reach out to clients.
When you’re first starting out in public relations you can choose between building your own PR business or agency or working for someone else’s agency.
Working for someone else’s agency will give you the stability you want when you start out and you will still gain valuable experience.
You can still serve and be at PR capacity working at a company.
Another thing you want to do is develop your network and utilize it. You can use your network to land a job or to start pulling in client leads.
This will end up being the biggest driver of new business leads for you or your agency. Develop a professional reputation with your network. If they are past clients, be sure that you’ve maintained a good relationship. Always exemplify quality work and integrity.
Your network can be the number one source for new business leads. As you become the ‘go-to’ person, you will get client referrals from people in your network.
If you’re starting out and you just want to get a job in PR, and you don’t have loads of experience yet, someone in your network can vouch for you. If you haven’t developed those deep skills, someone can vouch for your professionalism.
Develop a good reputation within your network, because your reputation follows you everywhere.
The biggest secret weapon for you is to find a mentor.
This is a way for you to fast track your results because mentors have already navigated through these waters and they are able to open doors for you and short-cut the processes.
Mentors will help you know what pitfalls to avoid. And a mentor can help you over hurdles that you are missing experience in or areas you have a lack of expertise in.
When I first started I had mentors that I reached out to. I asked them what resources are available for PR professionals. I didn’t realize there were databases with media contacts. They helped me know certain things I should say in pitches and where to find the types of contacts I would need to be successful.
Mentors help you navigate the waters and show you what to do and when.
Another factor that will help you with how to get into public relations is doing your research.
This is where you deep dive into specific industry topics and develop an expertise so that you’ll know all the things that are happening in that industry.
For example, if you want to be in hospitality, you need to be the one who knows if there’s a new restaurant coming to town and who’s behind that restaurant. Or you want to know if there are new hotels coming to that area. You want to know everything that’s happening in the hospitality niche.
As you develop your expertise and knowledge then when a client comes to you, you can tell them that you’re dialed in and that you know how to position them among other types of businesses that are relevant to theirs.
As you do your research you’ll learn who the important people are in those industries. You’ll know who the journalists are and you’ll learn how to endear yourself to them and become a go-to resource. Then your clients have a foot in the door because you’re a trusted source for those contacts.
One of the most important things to do is to build your skills.
For PR pitching the core approach and skill to learn is timeliness and relevance. You have to get what you need from your clients so that you’re aligned with them and they know you are setting them up for success. And at the same time, they’re setting you up to be successful too.
If you don’t have what you need, you have to feel confident to go back to them and explain what you need and how that will produce great results in PR.
The bonus to knowing your industry and getting everything you need to help your clients succeed is that you can charge more for your services. You’ll get clients that are more invested in seeing you be successful.
After you get what you need, then you build out a solid strategy so that you're aligned with your client's goals and they are aligned with what efforts you're taking to help them achieve those goals.
Track your results and if you’re not getting the results from the places you’re pitching to for your clients, then you can pivot. You can take a different approach for your clients.
In PR outreach you want to test different approaches to see what’s working and what isn’t. Then you can go back to your clients and explain to them that the way you expected this to turn out didn’t, and show them how you’re going to reposition and go back and take another approach to make this work for them.
This is what happens when you build your expertise so that you can always have a solution for your clients.
The entire process of how to get into Public Relations is in our ‘Pitch Lab’. It shows the entire process starting with the client, figuring out their objectives, making sure they’re setting you up for success, being a leader for them and guiding their strategy, and pivoting if things aren’t going well. Those are the core fundamentals.
I can help you have a successful path to growing a business that you’ll love. Contact me if you have any questions.