Basic Tips for PR Majors

My name is Angelica Poprawa. I am a senior at the University of Hartford, majoring in Communications, with a double-emphasis in Advertising/Public Relations and Media/Journalism. My focus since high school however, is Public Relations. I have always had a passion for writing since I was a young girl. Along with writing, another one of my passions in life is traveling to different places of the world, experiencing new cultures and gaining new perspectives. 

 

For those of you who are aspiring to create a career for yourself in public relations, it is essential to grasp the concept of a poker face and how to maintain one. Public Relations is not for the meek; it is a very competitive career that enables you to be assertive, persuasive, creative, and diplomatic.  Never let stress get to you. Always maintain your cool and think things through rather than acting impulsively.  Make sure to ask for help when you need it, and never show your weak sides in a stressful situation. It is important to never get upset, but rather just breathe and walk away and take a break for a few minutes before starting again. Keep positive and everything will eventually fall into place.

 

Effective presentation skills are very important. Make sure that your presentation or pitch is creative and intriguing, as well as informative but to the point. A long and boring presentation will make anyone fall asleep, and therefore your client will rather find a different public relations firm to work with and have you out of work. It is very helpful to ask yourself the question, “Would I be interested in my own presentation?” It is often very helpful to know your audience to then be able to engage them and get their attention from the start. Sometimes involving your audience in a dialogue can be helpful to create an engagement and interest with your presentation.

 

It is very important to maintain professionalism in both your stance and your appearance during pitches and presentations, as well as meetings and interviews. You should never slouch, and never put your hands on your hips. It is usually helpful to stand in the front, by the presentation and talk clearly without notes. It is important that you show your client that you are very excited to help them meet their goals.

 

Pitches are specifically supposed to be in conversation format. This means it is a relaxed formal discussion about the ideas that you have for the client and the results that they will create for them. Basically, it is essential to tell your client why they need to hire you, and how it will benefit them. There should be nothing scripted about this because then again, if you don’t believe yourself, then who will?

 

Strong writing skills are so important in public relations, that it is mostly the basis of all public relations work. Public relations is a persuasive field where it is important to know what to say and how to say it. In public relations there are many news releases, press releases, social media news releases, and direct-mail pieces that without effective writing skills, it is nearly impossible to become a good public relations practitioner. Public relations is all about selling the client to the public eye and promoting them in a positive light, even if during times of crisis. Public relations and journalism go hand-in-hand with the skills needed for both fields. When writing a press or news release, it is important to ask yourself questions like “Is this news?” or “Would I read this?” The first question you need to ask yourself while writing a press release is if it is even newsworthy. It is important to have an attention-grabbing introduction and cover all the information of who, what, where, when, and why to make it an interesting and valuable newsworthy piece. It is also very important to read over your work before submitting, so that you can edit anything that needs revision or edit any typos that may have occurred. Typos are the biggest turn-off in the writing and PR world. They instantly land your resume, cover letters, press releases, and news releases in the trash. Make sure to read your writing out loud to get a feel for the flow and tone of the writing. Editing and revising is the most important thing in all writing, and will make you a better writer in the long run!

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