Habits of successful PR professionals and how you can be just like them
Great public relations professionals stand out in any environment. Though special in their own ways, these individuals have a few things in common. They’ve already spent a lot of time refining their craft, but even these veterans continue to dedicate a significant amount of energy to learning and improving their skills. Every successful PR professional understands the ins and outs of their client’s business, market and competitors as well as they do (if not better). They recognize busy clients rely on them to be their eyes and ears. They know understanding a client’s business provides the insight needed to be successful at even the smallest task.
How to be like them:
Scan. Dedicate the first 20 minutes of every morning to scanning relevant publications. While somewhat of a no-brainer, this task can seem unimportant next to a nagging inbox. Set a recurring appointment in your calendar and try to keep it as often as possible.
Read. For fun. A professor I had said something that stuck with me: “Want to be a good writer? Read great books.” After all, you are what you eat.
Be a sponge. Request a “soak day” to meet key contacts (not just the communications team) to get a 360 degree view of the business. This may not be realistic in your early days working with a client, but keep your eyes peeled for your first opportunity. Sales teams often have great insights, as they work so closely with customers. In addition to giving you a better understanding of what the client does, this will ensure you know who the “go-to” people are, which will save them and you valuable time in the future.
Ask questions. This may seem like a fairly obvious one, but asking questions can be intimidating, even more so when you’re new on the scene. Don’t be afraid to ask about things that may be considered outside of your remit (e.g. business model, product road-map, sales process, competitive landscape etc.). You will obtain a much wider picture of the business, allowing you the insight to spot opportunities and react to issues early on.
Think like a customer. Put yourself in the shoes of your clients’ customers. Roam the company website as a customer would, call the toll-free customer service number, comparison shop. Thinking like a customer will give you incredible depth of insight when developing creative campaigns. For example, I’m currently taking a photography course with the goal of better understanding our client, Nikon’s customer experience and their products in general. I’m already finding that my social media interactions with customers as well as conversations with tech journalists have been positively influenced by this experience.
Anticipate. After you’ve learned all about your client’s business, start to think ahead. Anticipating what’s coming down the pipe will allow you to spot opportunities and potential issues before your client and their competitors do. Being one step ahead will also allow you valuable time to develop a strategic plan.
Try new things. Just because your client is accustomed to something the way it is, doesn’t mean they’re anti-change. Thankfully, there’s room for creativity in our line of work. If you know refining a process will improve efficiency or result in innovation, it’s definitely worth a closer look.
Have any tips of your own? Please share them below!