6 Steps to a Successful Public Relations Career (Even if You Have No Experience)

Nov 29, 2021

If you’re getting ready to choose your profession, or you’re considering switching things up, a public relations career is amazing for a number of reasons! 

PR has changed my life for the better, and I know it can do the same for you — and guess what? You can become a publicist today, even if you’re brand new and have no experience. 

6 Steps To Help You Build A Successful Public Relations Career

It’s totally possible to be super successful in PR, even if you don’t have formal public relations training. No matter what stage of your career you’re in, these six steps will help you build a thriving public relations career starting right now. 

1. Think About Why You Want A Public Relations Career

As you think about getting into PR as someone with no experience, the BIGGEST thing you need to know is your “why.” 

I was a lawyer before I got into PR, and the main reason I took the leap with no contacts or experience was to achieve my definition of success (having the flexibility to grow my business AND be a great mom). 

You should also try to get inspired—making a change is scary, but seeing how other people have found success is really, really helpful. 

That’s a huge part of the reason why I host my PR Pro Spotlight series on my website and on the Pitching Powerhouse Podcast. I love getting to interview successful members of our community about their “why”—and the “how” that got them to where they are today. 

2. Get Up-To-Date On What’s Happening + Trending In PR 

Do you know what’s new, now, and next in public relations? If not, it’s time to get current. 

You need to monitor the pulse of the PR industry like you would your clients’ niches (or your social media feeds). 

A huge part of a successful public relations career is staying on top of news, trends, and industry shifts. Plus, it shows your clients that you’re really informed and an expert in what you do. 

Joining the Profitable PR Pros community is a (free!) way to get connected with other PR pros, access tons of training and tips, and even get access to resources to help you along the way. 

We even have a free 2021 PR Trend Report that you can download with all of the trends you should know about right now!

3. Find A Good Mentor

Next, you’ll want to find a great mentor to build a relationship with. When you’re looking for a mentor, try to find someone who has similar values to you (and who has the kind of business and life you’re looking to have). 

The mentors I invest in have balance in their lives. Their priorities are in check. It's not all just about money! Instead, it’s about building a public relations career that absolutely lights you up every single day. 

When you choose to become a publicist and build your own PR business, you have a vision for your career, your life, and how the two interact. Focus on those qualities when you’re looking for a mentor. 

It’s also important to have a mentor who knows your industry! That way, if you have challenges (or wins to celebrate) you’ll have someone who truly understands. 

Related: How to Find a Mentor to Boost Your PR Agency Growth 

4. Build Your Skills

To create a successful public relations career, you need to build your skills. 

The main skill that you’ll need to work on is mastering the art of the pitch so that you can score high-quality press features for your clients. Your pitching skills are the foundation of everything you’ll do once you become a publicist, so focus on those skills early. 

Then, continually work to develop them. You should always be learning and practicing to make your business successful! 

The Pitch Lab is my monthly membership program where you really learn how to become a Pitching Powerhouse. You learn exactly how to write compelling pitches that secure press features. Plus, you get access to incredible monthly execution plans to save you tons of time and help you plan ahead.

5. Find Work Experience

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.

Another great way to get experience and build your skills (while creating relationships!) is to offer your services for free to a company you love, locally or on a bigger scale. 

This is actually what I did at the very beginning of my public relations career! I had no idea at the time what PR was or that you could be paid for it, but I offered my services to a company I found and loved...and it really changed everything for me. 

Of course, if you’re offering free services, make sure you put a cap on it! This isn’t going to be something you do forever. Set a timeline and let people know upfront that you’re working to develop your PR skills and want to help out. It’s super important that clients know that free or discounted services are only for a particular timeframe.  

Related: How to Work With PR Clients Who Have Low Budgets

6. Hone In On Your Niche

One of the huge things that are going to allow you to scale in a way that brings in more money for you, without more time, is honing in on your niche. 

Niching down scares a lot of people because they feel they won’t get enough work. But it’s essential to building a successful PR business! 

You can niche into what types of clients you serve: they can be experts or brands. You’ll also want to niche down in what services you offer—the more things you offer, the more you have to manage. 

What do you want to be known for? Niching down is how you offer maximum value and command higher rates! 

If you don’t niche down, you won’t be known as the expert authority in any specific area. Instead, niche down and leverage successes so that clients in that niche know that you’re the best at what you specifically do. 

Without niching, you’ll have 10 clients at $1,000 a month each, rather than two clients on 5 or 6-figure retainers. 

It’s always better to go deep than wide. When you know what to focus on, you will be able to score high-end clients in your area of expertise. That’s why niching is essential to building a successful public relations career. 

Ready to start your public relations career? These six steps will take you from a newbie to a thriving PR pro in no time at all.