Spark’s top ten pieces of advice to PR professionals

Christopher By Christopher

Public relations can sometimes be seen as something of a dark art, we sit outside the realm of sales and not quite within the world of marketing, and yet our job is to support both. Most people are probably aware of the key elements of the job; being able to tell a good story, write a good pitch and drafting press releases, but beyond that there are a plethora of skills we rely on to ensure the best possible media coverage for clients.

With this in mind, we crowd-sourced views from the Spark team to share the best pieces of PR advice that we’ve all received over the years.

  1. Don’t pick up the phone if you don’t believe in the story – In these situations it’s always better to talk through the story with a colleague to see if it can be improved or explained better. If you don’t care, it’s unlikely a journalist will either.

  2. Understand the value of your story to whomever you are pitching it to – No journalist is likely to want to write the same article about a press release, it’s up to you to know what they are interested in and use that to get them interested.

  3. Read more – especially anything related to clients or the industry you’re dealing with – Knowing as much as possible will help you to get your story across in the most believable way possible and will certainly make your life easier when drafting any content for a client.

  4. Learn to prioritise – new tasks pop up all the time, so you need to have a clear idea of what’s important and has to happen ASAP, what can be done afterwards and what can fit into the gaps when you have them.

  5. Be a logistics god – make sure to plan routes, timings and allow loads of extra time when getting to events and press tours – you never know when a changed timetable, split train or confusing one destination with another can cause major issues.

  6. Know how to explain your client better than your client – In tech especially it’s easy to get caught up in the details, sometimes you need to know how to cut away the details and make the story accessible in order to stand-out to journalists.

  7. Don’t be a stranger to journalists – The old adage of ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ is true in most industries, and it’s no different in PR. Spending time getting to know journalists in person can pay huge dividends when it comes to knowing how to pitch them or getting them to read your e-mails.

  8. Have a backup plan – PR can involve many moving parts, from sign-off time on content, journalists and clients needing to reschedule briefings, through to a constantly changing daily new agenda (a big breaking story can wreak havoc with the best pre-pitching) so you need to be ready for anything. Having a plan B for when plan A fails can be vital to help keep calm in even the most stressful situation.

  9. Make sure the CEO ‘gets’ PR and the job you have to do becomes a lot easier – buy-in from the top could make the difference between something being signed off in a day or sitting on a desk being ignored for a week.

  10. Get E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G proofed. It may be last on our list but it’s probably the most important. No matter how pushed for time you are, it’s still vital to ensure everything is proofed. After-all, no one wants to work in pubic relations…

If you think you have got what it takes, do drop us a line at [email protected]