Today our Young PR Pro program features a guest post from Saphiya Hindeyeh, Public Relations Specialist at Infusionsoft. Whether you're still in your first PR job or can barely remember your first PR job, the lessons learned during the early years are valuable ones. Read on for what Saphiya's learned in her first year of working on a successful PR team for a high-growth company.
Millennials are known for a few things, one of which is the desire to work for a company that couples profit with purpose to create a positive social and economic impact on the world. Like many people in my generation, I too am purpose-driven. Luckily, fate agreed with my ambitions and I landed a job doing PR for a tech company that is leading the small business success movement. When small businesses succeed, it drastically influences the economy!
The PR world alone is fast-paced. On top of that, Infusionsoft is one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. Fortunately, I thrive in a high-growth, collaborative and energetic environment. I started working for Infusionsoft as a PR Coordinator a month after I graduated college, and what I’ve learned from practical experience has gone far beyond what was taught in the classroom or in any of my internships. Here are four things I’ve learned in my first year as a PR professional.
1. Research makes you a pro!
A big chunk of a PR person’s time is spent on research, typically on:
- Your industry: What is CRM and marketing automation? What is the current economic state of your vertical in the nation? You should know the in-and-outs of your company or client’s platform, products and/or services, customers, competitors and industry leaders. In order to effectively build awareness, PR people must first become experts in the brands they promote.
- Data, facts and figures: You need concrete information for just about anything in PR: to make front-page storylines, pitches more newsworthy, quotes more impactful, material to reference in an interview, etc. For example, if the company’s VP is going to do a radio interview about the state of small business in Arizona, you need to provide him or her with relevant statistics to reference in the discussion.
- News and trends: You need to know what’s going on in the news, and not just in your field, but in the general news-junkie sense. You basically need to be a human version of Facebook’s Trending Topics.
- Media opportunities: It’s our job to check if a media request is worth the time and investment, especially if you’re working for (or have a client that is) a fast-growth company with top-tier media standards. For example, you wouldn’t want to set up an hour-long media interview with an executive if the audience reach is 10 people. If you’re going to spend time on it, especially an executive’s time, make sure you have ROI to back it up.
2. Technology is changing the way we measure PR’s efforts and ROI.
Contrary to the myth that says you can’t measure PR, you can! We’re in the 21st century and there are multiple PR software solutions and tools for public relations management to choose from based on your company or client needs. Whether you’re working in-house or in an agency, PR pros should be able to effectively communicate the impact PR has on the business. (Check out the IrisPR ebook: The Art and Science of PR Measurement.)
3. You are writing all day every day.
You’re basically a full-time author. You have to write effective pitches, short yet informative media releases, 50-page award applications and much more. Even emails have to be crafted to perfection. Your written communication needs to be impeccable, and it is something that can always use improvement. Check out PR Pro Robert Wynne’s Forbes article on How To Turbocharge Your Writing For Public Relations.
4. In-house PR is an Integrated Marketing Experience.
The great thing about working in-house is the opportunity to learn things beyond PR. You get to immerse yourself into the business you serve, which gives you a broad perspective on the organization and its customers.
In the marketing department, I get to collaborate with professionals who have specialized skills, which gives me insight into multiple components of marketing. For example, I get to work with our social media team on strategies to provide awareness for the company, or join forces with our creative team to create and share small business success stories.
In a short amount of time, I’ve learned many leading PR practices that will help me grow in my career. I plan to continue absorbing as much knowledge as possible.
Although my hard work and genuine love for the job played a major role in my development, I attribute the lessons I ‘ve learned, along with many of my achievements, to my team and its leadership. I’m fortunate enough to work under great leadership and their coaching and mentorship has been an integral part of my growth.
I firmly believe that the success you want to achieve in your career begins with joining a bright and creative team and having caring leaders who provide you with opportunities for growth.