As a well-established agency with some pretty impressive clients (if I do say so myself) we are regularly approached by those looking to make a career for themselves in the world of PR. Many seeking some work experience or their first step on the ladder, others simply interested in a little mentoring about what the role actually entails and how to excel.
As is the case in many sectors there isn’t a straightforward, one size fits all, formulaic approach to what makes a great PR – every team I have ever worked in relies on a little sprinkle of this, that and the other in order to have a well-rounded approach to the task at hand. However, when it comes to this particular profession there are three attributes that are, certainly as far as I am concerned, non-negotiable.
With that in mind, anyone seeking a little insight from me will inevitably go away with these words ringing in their ears:
Attitude – having the right attitude is a good 80% of what makes a PR great. Whilst it is important to know your worth and focus your ‘fee-earning time’ on adding value to the businesses you work for – achieving coverage and driving sales etc. – it is often AS important to go that little bit above and beyond. Any budding young exec who embraces the concept that nothing is too much trouble will go far (especially here at MK HQ). You will need to work the odd evening, you will likely need to manage the odd weekend event and you will, inevitably, have to stay late on occasion to complete a new business pitch and/or tidy up a client report. Get over it!
Resilience – whether it’s dealing with a journalist who, to put it bluntly, “doesn’t have time to take your call”; giving an account a little TLC when it’s nearing the end of the month and you haven’t quite managed to hit your key performance indicators; or stepping up when the odds are stacked against the team to meet a deadline I promise you the time will come when a little resilience will go a long way. Would I go as far as to say a good PR needs a thick skin? Probably. It certainly helps.
Humility – possibly the hardest road a young PR has to travel is the one that teaches them the value of a little humility. I think it’s fair to say that decent proportion of industry ‘wannabes’ are not lacking in confidence, with PR typically attracting the more outgoing type. It can be, as a result, rather difficult to accept that perhaps you don’t know everything or that your writing really could do with a bit of fine tuning. Having the humility to accept that you are, and always will be, on a pretty steep learning curve in an ever changing and developing industry is one lesson that will serve you well in the long run.