Charting the dangerous waters of Public Relations (PR) as a young professional can be very daunting and comes with its challenges. Nonetheless, when someone with a rich and achievement-laden background of the industry shares insights with you, it’s always refreshing and makes the journey a bit easy.
Somewhere this year, I was privileged to sit in a meeting where Dr. Joyce Aryee, former CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines and Executive Director of Salt and Light Ministries, shared some thoughts with fledging Communicators and PR professionals.
Last week, a PR student asked me for advice and I fell on what she shared with us. Today on my blog, I equally share with you excerpts of Dr. Joyce Aryee’s advice to young PR professionals; seeking a place under the sun; as far as the PR landscape is concerned.
PR is about people, what they mean to organizations and what organizations mean to the people we work with. Therefore, it demands that you do a lot of listening.
You must be able to find out and focus on key conversations, and put down any information which will be beneficial or crucial to your organization or whoever you represent. PS: The rule is never pretend to be listening. Listen and Act.
- Know the Cultural context
A lot of what we do as PR professionals involves interacting with stakeholders and key publics on behalf of our clients or organizations.
Therefore to be successful at what you do, you must know and take into account the cultural setting.You must also be able to understand and speak the local language or lingo of the communities you serve. This is one of the ways you can be able to connect with them for the desired outcome when PR campaigns are concerned.
- Embrace Measurement
In time past, public relations has been the Cinderella among her two sisters – Advertising and Marketing. This is often due to the fact that professionals have not been able to provide quantifiable results. But in recent times, it has become imperative to back findings and conclusions with statistics.
Data remains your best ally at the table of management. Don’t do things just to do them but you must measure them in the end and tweak your efforts for the desired results.
This is the only way to ensure that you can become successful as a 21st century professional. You will need to need to learn how to calculate growth and decline and advise management on the way forward.
Remember, you cannot manage what you don’t measure.
- Carve a niche
To become relevant where you are as a practitioner, you need to become a subject matter expert. It is good to be a jack of all trades but equally important to be a master of one area of the public relations discipline.
What we have seen in times past is many public relations generalist but few specialists. As a professional seeking to stand out, you must find a niche, live it and become the go-to expert, when professionals are needed to speak on it or assist organizations in that area.
- Hone your Writing skills
In PR, how you write is how you are perceived. As a professional, you must be able to articulate you thoughts and ensure that what you write effectively communicates the desired message. If what you write makes sense in your head but your audience cannot understand or relate to what you have written, then your writing is ineffective.
Furthermore, learn how to write well across different mediums; from letters, pitch emails, press releases to creative content.
- Master Social Media and new Technology
It is an undeniable fact that social media has come to stay and it presents opportunities to generate leads, expand networks and amplify an organizations brand.
Professionals should understand the different forms available and use it regularly to create advantage for their organization when it matters. Despite its benefits, do not let the fear of missing out make you an obsessive social media communicator. It is a tool, so use it effectively.
Furthermore, have a strong desire to learn about new technology. Technology has evolved a lot in the last decade and professionals need to embrace this change. Learn how to use RSS, Vlogs, Blogs, etc and apply them to your job when required.
…Find out more about Dr. Joyce Aryee’s nuggets for young PR professionals in my next blog.