This year has been incredible, stressful, and packed with learned and discovering new things. One thing I discovered this semester was public relations and all that it deals with. Prior to this year I had no idea what public relations really was, even though I was majoring in it, nor did I really care about it. However, after learning from Professor Nixon I learned some very important things about public relations.
- It takes a very organized and patient person to work in pr. You need to have things planned to a tee when doing a press conference, a junket, sending in a news release, etc. because most of the time things will not fall exactly your way, but being organized is going to help soften the hard times. I said patient too, I say this because when working with clients you have to learn to be understanding and patient as they figure out what they want. They hired you and you need to make sure you are providing for them and doing everything you possibly can to make them happy; even when they drive you crazy you still have to be patient.
- Having good writing skills is very important. You have to remember key things such as who you are writing to and make sure you use AP style, create clear and concise sentences, and use imagery when needed or appropriate.
- This goes along with number two, remember your audience when writing. You’ll want to change your approach if writing to a business v. a school. You want to make sure you pertain to the right group.
- Relationships and contacts are important to make and to keep. You have to initiate contacts and nurture the relationships. Eventually you will get to the point where you don’t pitch a story anymore but just have conversations about stories.
- Press Kits!! Press kits are the icing on the cake when working with a company. You place all of your media advisories, press releases, fact sheets, etc. It’s basically a goodie-bad without the goodies. It’s important to make sure all your information is correct and in the press kit when you send it out or pass them onto a company or client.
- The AP Stylebook is your guide in public relations. It includes all your basic information for writing anything. I learned a lot from looking through the book when writing. It’s important to use the AP Stylebook because some newspapers may not accept your work if it’s not in the proper format.
- The saying “a picture is worth a 1,000 words” is true. Photos are a big part of public relations due to the fact that they tell a lot about a company or organization without people even having to read the article per say. When taking or choosing a photo make sure the resolution, lighting, camera angle, and composition are good to ensure a great photograph.
- Public Service Announcements, Video News Releases and Radio News Releases are a great ways to reach the masses and various groups of people at the same time. RNR’s are quick “commercials” for your product or company that are 30 or 60 seconds as are PSA’s. VNR’s are 90 seconds in length normally, but are very expensive. After this year, I would choose a RNR or PSA based off of audiences and times where it would be played.
- Despite what some may think, journalists and pr professionals don’t always get along. However, you can easily avoid tension by making things run as smoothly as possible and not step on their toes and vice versa.
- The world of pr is always changing. You may end up with different days each day, predictability isn’t a strong suit. You may end up doing something different every day. It’s also important to continue taking classes and reading the papers to stay fresh and up to date on the world around you and the new technologies coming out.
This semester was great, I really enjoyed learning all about public relations. It’s difficult to say exactly what I would like to do, but after this year I have a much better understanding of what I can expect and what there is to do in the profession.