Guest

10 Tips to Become a More Successful PR Pro

By: Guest | November 3, 2010 | 
88

Guest post by Matthew Royse, author of Knowledge Enthusiast.

In today’s ultra-competitive PR world you need to find ways to stand out. Following are 10 things that continue to help me become a more successful PR pro. I hope they help you, too.

Do your homework. A mass pitch never amasses a lot of coverage. Before you pitch a journalist or blogger, know what they cover. Research their past stories and fine tune your pitch to appeal to their audience.

Learn something new. Take a training course. Sign up for a conference. Go back to school. Take an online certification like HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certification. You may find out you know more than you think.

Become a better writer. Practice being a “headline communicator” by learning how to hook your audience with your first five words. Find creative ways to flex your writing muscle. Become a contributing author to an industry publication. Start your own blog or write for your company’s blog.

Develop deeper relationships. Remember how powerful and memorable handwritten thank you notes are in today’s online world. Look for new and creative ways to keep yourself top of mind in the eyes of your stakeholders. Don’t forget that relationships are best built face-to-face than over the phone or on a computer.

Learn how to better manage the yes. This is a twist on managing the no. Learn how to better manage the expectations of others. Make sure that you set the scope of work and discuss desirable outcomes. Make sure you always under-promise and over-deliver.

Prioritize. When you feel overwhelmed by multiple large projects, step back and remember what’s most important to accomplish today. Create a to-do list at the end of every day, so when you come into work the next morning you know what you need to do first.

Be more resourceful. If you can’t reach a journalist or blogger over the phone or by email, search for them on Twitter and send them a message. Find creative ways to pitch beyond the standard press release. Seek out the stories journalists are working on by using services like HARO and NewsBasis.

Take advantage of social media. More journalists are using social media to find story ideas and sources. Use sites like Muck Rack, MediaOnTwitter, and Journalist Tweets to find out who’s online and how to contact them.

Network, Network, Network. Join professional PR associations like PRSA or IABC or Ragan. Become a member of your local Social Media Club. Participate in Twitter chats. You never know when a relationship may help you with your current job or finding a future one.

Use free PR tools. Read Jeremy Porter’s 13 PR resources you may have overlooked post. There are many tools out there that can help you deliver tremendous value to your brand or client – without spending a dime.

What tips would you add to this list?

Matthew Royse, author of Knowledge Enthusiast, is a marketing communications manager for Forsythe Technology. He is also a contributor to Ragan’s PR Daily.

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88 responses to “10 Tips to Become a More Successful PR Pro”

  1. rachaelseda says:

    Thank you for all the great resources! I would add to “Learn More” with read blogs, listen to podcasts, and take classes that may not directly be PR related. I have found that diversifying your self, activities, and expanding your interests helps to provide a different outlook that can really make the creative juices flow!

  2. hennamohnani says:

    I am currently pursuing an Undergraduate Bachelors degree In Marketing Communications and I am an aspiring PR Professional. Great article! Will keep these points in mind 🙂 Thank You

  3. mattroyse says:

    @rachaelseda I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the post. “Learn more” is a great addition to this list. PR pros need to be interested in more than just their industry, company or client. A lot of great ideas come from other industries and different perspectives. For example, GE benchmarked Motorola before they created their Six Sigma Quality Assurance program.

  4. mattroyse says:

    @hennamohnani Good luck with your PR career after graduation! Please let me or Gini know how we can help you now or after you graduate from school. Thanks for reading and posting.

  5. JonHearty says:

    Great tips, thanks for the post. Technology is changing the way we meet and interact with people. These are good ideas to help tackle these changes. Thanks, Matthew!

  6. mattroyse says:

    @JonHearty Thanks for commenting. You are right, technology is really changing how we network, communicate with each other and work as PR pros. Actually, a majority of these tips have either a direct or indirect connection to technology.

  7. ginidietrich says:

    @mattroyse @rachaelseda I agree with “learn more” and this also goes back to the conversation we had on justingoldsborough guest post earlier this week – learning more is essential in not only growing yourself as a professional, but also when you are interviewing for a new job. As soon as we stop learning, we may as well be dead.

    And Matt?! Thanks for the post! It’s really well done!

  8. Shonali says:

    Nice post, Matt. I’d like to add “consider getting your accreditation.” I know the value of accreditation – whether from IABC or PRSA – is often debated, but I found it one of the most useful things I ever did for myself (I’m IABC-accredited), both in terms of learning as well as network-building. It certainly doesn’t mean that anyone who’s not accredited doesn’t know what they’re doing; quite the contrary. But especially for pros who are in the 4-6 year stage of their career, it really helps to focus one’s thinking and start thinking like a strategist.

  9. rachaelseda says:

    @shonali I never even thought of this. It’s a great idea and something to keep in mind for young professionals as we grow in our career. Thanks Shonali!

  10. Shonali says:

    @rachaelseda Any time!

  11. natalie_f says:

    Great post, Matt. I agree with all your tips, particularly, the “Learn how to better manage yes” tip. Many times PR pros try to take on more than they can handle, but meeting deadlines and over delivering are crucial to going beyond what’s expected of you at your company.

    I also suggest that being a hybrid professional will help you in a competitive PR industry that is constantly evolving. As mentioned in a blog post from our agency’s (PR 20/20) blog, 10 Traits of an Emerging PR Pro http://bit.ly/2QRST, PR pros are expected to be skilled in many areas beyond traditional PR, such as copywriting, blogging, social networking, content marketing and SEO. Taking the initiative to constantly learn as much as possible in various industries and service areas is essential in our industry. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  12. mattroyse says:

    @natalie_f I agree with you, a lot of PR pros try to do more than they can handle. There is only so much time in the day!

    I read your “10 Traits of an Emerging PR Pro” when I was doing research for this post. It was a great read and I highly recommend that PR pros read that post. Great job!

    Also, PR pros are expected to do more marketing these days with marketing and PR having more and more turf battles. It is very important for young PR pros to learn about SEO, Analytics and how to write compelling content.

  13. mattroyse says:

    @shonali I considered getting an accreditation a couple years ago but never got around to following through. Business school then took priority. I highly recommend PR pros think about getting their MBA. It has been a great experience for me.

    I have heard mixed reviews about accreditations but it sounds like that it is worth a second look. Thank you for sharing your experience. Congrats by the way!

    I think that there comes a time in your PR career where you need to take your career to the next level and I think an accreditation can help a lot of PR pros become more successful.

  14. mattroyse says:

    @ginidietrich Thank you, Gini, for the compliment. I really appreciate it! It means a lot coming from such a successful PR pro like yourself. I also appreciate the opportunity to post on your blog. It is an honor to be able to guest post on the 2010 PR Blog of the Year, according to the PR Readers’ Choice Awards.

  15. mattroyse says:

    @ginidietrich Thank you, Gini, for the compliment. I really appreciate it! It means a lot coming from such a successful PR pro like yourself. I also appreciate the opportunity to post on your blog. It is an honor to be able to guest post on the 2010 PR Blog of the Year, according to the PR Readers’ Choice Awards.

  16. DChatterton says:

    To learn something new, I recommend volunteering in the field. I’m a Board Member for CPRS Vancouver (the Vancouver chapter of the Canadian PRSA), through which I meet many super PR pros from various organizations. I also volunteer to mentor PR students, as a way of giving back to the profession. I learn from their questions and they keep me in the loop about what’s being taught in schools these days. As well, I sometimes volunteer my communications services for not-for-profit organizations, such as the David Suzuki Foundation. It’s a great way to give back to the community and to flex my PR muscles in a different context from my day job.

    Some people argue that we shouldn’t give our PR skills away for free, but really, the extent to which we do so can be managed with a little common sense. And I believe the greater good shouldn’t be ignored. Plus, it’s fun!

  17. DChatterton says:

    To learn something new, I recommend volunteering in the field. I’m a Board Member for CPRS Vancouver (the Vancouver chapter of the Canadian PRSA), through which I meet many super PR pros from various organizations. I also volunteer to mentor PR students, as a way of giving back to the profession. I learn from their questions and they keep me in the loop about what’s being taught in schools these days. As well, I sometimes volunteer my communications services for not-for-profit organizations, such as the David Suzuki Foundation. It’s a great way to give back to the community and to flex my PR muscles in a different context from my day job.

    Some people argue that we shouldn’t give our PR skills away for free, but really, the extent to which we do so can be managed with a little common sense. And I believe the greater good shouldn’t be ignored. Plus, it’s fun!

  18. 10 Tips to Become a More Successful PR Pro http://bit.ly/dwaGDD #PR #PRSSA

  19. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ILSTU PRSSA and Caitlyn McClain, Jenn O'Hanlon. Jenn O'Hanlon said: 10 tips to become a more successful PR pro http://t.co/vumuPb6 […]

  20. Spin Sucks: 10 Tips to Become a More Successful #PR Pro; good advice 4 any career, actually; http://tinyurl.com/2be4kv3 #jobs #careers

  21. Spin Sucks: 10 Tips to Become a More Successful #PR Pro; good advice 4 any career, actually; http://tinyurl.com/2be4kv3 #jobs #careers

  22. dgaschen says:

    Good article and some useful tips. I’d like to add, “Speak the Language of Business.” Mattross touched on the idea of an MBA, and there’s good reason for it. It will help you understand that all business decisions are based on numbers. It also will help you translate your results into the language your boss (or client) will understand.

  23. dgaschen says:

    Good article and some useful tips. I’d like to add, “Speak the Language of Business.” Mattross touched on the idea of an MBA, and there’s good reason for it. It will help you understand that all business decisions are based on numbers. It also will help you translate your results into the language your boss (or client) will understand.

  24. jennalanger says:

    This is a great list because almost all of the tips can apply to all industries and life in general. It’s all about using available resources, developing and maintaining relationships, and staying on track. Life lessons that everyone should follow.

    Social Media Club and Twitter chats have been great resources for me, along with reading blogs like this one 🙂

  25. jennalanger says:

    This is a great list because almost all of the tips can apply to all industries and life in general. It’s all about using available resources, developing and maintaining relationships, and staying on track. Life lessons that everyone should follow.

    Social Media Club and Twitter chats have been great resources for me, along with reading blogs like this one 🙂

  26. jennalanger says:

    @mattroyse @shonali What did you concentrate on for your MBA? Grad school is definitely still on my todo list. As a community manager though I love the relationships aspect more than the business. I’m not sure if I’d be better off getting a Masters in a communication related field or going for the MBA.

  27. jennalanger says:

    @mattroyse @shonali What did you concentrate on for your MBA? Grad school is definitely still on my todo list. As a community manager though I love the relationships aspect more than the business. I’m not sure if I’d be better off getting a Masters in a communication related field or going for the MBA.

  28. ginidietrich says:

    Well, I think I have to give the Spin Sucks crown to @mattroyse this week. I haven’t seen the analytics yet, so this based purely on gut, but I think he kicked my butt on number of visitors and comments. First time a guest blogger has ever done that. Nicely done, Matt!

  29. ginidietrich says:

    Well, I think I have to give the Spin Sucks crown to @mattroyse this week. I haven’t seen the analytics yet, so this based purely on gut, but I think he kicked my butt on number of visitors and comments. First time a guest blogger has ever done that. Nicely done, Matt!

  30. ginidietrich says:

    @DChatterton Do you know my good friend martinwaxman ??

  31. ginidietrich says:

    @DChatterton Do you know my good friend martinwaxman ??

  32. ginidietrich says:

    @JennaLanger Northwestern has an integrated marketing communication degree (master’s of science) at Medill. You could consider something like that. cc: @mattroyse @shonali

  33. ginidietrich says:

    @JennaLanger Northwestern has an integrated marketing communication degree (master’s of science) at Medill. You could consider something like that. cc: @mattroyse @shonali

  34. ginidietrich says:

    @mattroyse You are welcome back anytime!! Well, not anytime. The next time I have a killer post in my brain that you can still kill the numbers but not beat me! 🙂

  35. ginidietrich says:

    @mattroyse You are welcome back anytime!! Well, not anytime. The next time I have a killer post in my brain that you can still kill the numbers but not beat me! 🙂

  36. jennalanger says:

    @GiniDietrich cool, thanks for the tip! Trying to get me to come out to Chicago, eh? Hope @jkretch doesn’t see this… 😉

  37. jennalanger says:

    @GiniDietrich cool, thanks for the tip! Trying to get me to come out to Chicago, eh? Hope @jkretch doesn’t see this… 😉

  38. 10 tips to becoming a more successful PR pro – http://bit.ly/dwaGDD

  39. ginidietrich says:

    @JennaLanger @jkretch You work for a tech company. You can do that anywhere!

  40. ginidietrich says:

    @JennaLanger @jkretch You work for a tech company. You can do that anywhere!

  41. 10 Tips to Become a More Successful PR Pro http://bit.ly/dwaGDD

  42. mattroyse says:

    @JennaLanger My concentration is in integrated marketing communications (IMC) at DePaul’s MBA program.

    I agree with @GiniDietrich that you should definitely consider Northwestern’s IMC degree. It is a great school and program. I moved to Chicago from DC a couple years ago so don’t let geography stand in your way of your grad school plans. Chicago has some of the best grad schools in the country.

    Good luck on whatever you decide!

  43. mattroyse says:

    @JennaLanger My concentration is in integrated marketing communications (IMC) at DePaul’s MBA program.

    I agree with @GiniDietrich that you should definitely consider Northwestern’s IMC degree. It is a great school and program. I moved to Chicago from DC a couple years ago so don’t let geography stand in your way of your grad school plans. Chicago has some of the best grad schools in the country.

    Good luck on whatever you decide!

  44. 10 Tips to Become a More Successful PR Pro http://bit.ly/dwaGDD

  45. mattroyse says:

    @dgaschen Thank you for your thoughts. Great addition to the list.

  46. mattroyse says:

    @dgaschen Thank you for your thoughts. Great addition to the list.

  47. 10 tips to become a more successful PR pro: http://bit.ly/dwaGDD

  48. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by KateSquared, Kate Slean. Kate Slean said: 10 tips to become a more successful PR pro | Spin Sucks http://t.co/gF9qkPj via @AddThis […]

  49. Wearing my PR hat this month, enjoyed these pointers from spinsucks http://bit.ly/dwaGDD (via @ragan)

  50. journalistics says:

    Great post Matt, thanks for including me in the roundup. Any of your points could be standalone posts – great advice for PR pros. I particularly like your suggestion to expand your training with things like HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certificiation – PR pros need to get up to speed with inbound marketing-type approaches if they aren’t already. My favorite point is on the headline writing – I’ve been working harder to write better headlines. It’s important for engaging readers, increasing open rates, and improving your SEO.

  51. journalistics says:

    Great post Matt, thanks for including me in the roundup. Any of your points could be standalone posts – great advice for PR pros. I particularly like your suggestion to expand your training with things like HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certificiation – PR pros need to get up to speed with inbound marketing-type approaches if they aren’t already. My favorite point is on the headline writing – I’ve been working harder to write better headlines. It’s important for engaging readers, increasing open rates, and improving your SEO.

  52. DChatterton says:

    @ginidietrich I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Martin Waxman, but I do follow him on Twitter.

  53. DChatterton says:

    @ginidietrich I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Martin Waxman, but I do follow him on Twitter.

  54. 10 tips to help you excel at your public relations job http://bit.ly/dwaGDD

  55. graphicjer says:

    Thanks Matt for such an informative post. Wish there was more like this on the web. Seems like “publish or perish” has a social network equivalent.

    I am a graphic designer in a small town that often has to stand in for PR duties, this list really helps me with my attampts to support and educate my clients.

  56. graphicjer says:

    Thanks Matt for such an informative post. Wish there was more like this on the web. Seems like “publish or perish” has a social network equivalent.

    I am a graphic designer in a small town that often has to stand in for PR duties, this list really helps me with my attampts to support and educate my clients.

  57. “10 Tips to Become a More successful PR Pro” (http://tinyurl.com/2be4kv3)

  58. RT @mereelainepr: “10 Tips to Become a More successful PR Pro” (http://tinyurl.com/2be4kv3)

  59. RManning_Mynt says:

    Great article and fantastic tips.. Doing your research is such an important factor that is unfortunately overlooked. One addition that I would add, which falls under the ‘become a better writer’ tip, is to make sure that you are writing clear messages while eliminating the industry jargon and typical buzzwords from your writing both in collateral and pitches. I actually did a post a few months ago on the ‘100 PR buzzwords that need to die’ http://bit.ly/100PRBuzzwords which is a bit tongue-in-cheek but when you read it may make you cringe at many of the words lists. I can say that I have been as guilty as the next with their use. Looking forward to reading your posts!

  60. RManning_Mynt says:

    Great article and fantastic tips.. Doing your research is such an important factor that is unfortunately overlooked. One addition that I would add, which falls under the ‘become a better writer’ tip, is to make sure that you are writing clear messages while eliminating the industry jargon and typical buzzwords from your writing both in collateral and pitches. I actually did a post a few months ago on the ‘100 PR buzzwords that need to die’ http://bit.ly/100PRBuzzwords which is a bit tongue-in-cheek but when you read it may make you cringe at many of the words lists. I can say that I have been as guilty as the next with their use. Looking forward to reading your posts!

  61. mattroyse says:

    @RManning_Mynt That is a great point and thanks for your comment. A lot of people include industry jargon and acronyms in their writing without explaining what those terms mean. It is always best to speak to a lay audience with your communications and use the KISS principle. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

  62. mattroyse says:

    @RManning_Mynt That is a great point and thanks for your comment. A lot of people include industry jargon and acronyms in their writing without explaining what those terms mean. It is always best to speak to a lay audience with your communications and use the KISS principle. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

  63. mattroyse says:

    @graphicjer Thanks for your comment and I am glad to hear that you found the post informative. It sounds like you are wearing a lot of “hats,” especially the design hat and the PR hat. I believe that a good PR pro wears a lot of “hats.”

  64. mattroyse says:

    @graphicjer Thanks for your comment and I am glad to hear that you found the post informative. It sounds like you are wearing a lot of “hats,” especially the design hat and the PR hat. I believe that a good PR pro wears a lot of “hats.”

  65. mattroyse says:

    @journalistics Thanks for your comment, Jeremy. I have been working hard on my headline writing skills as well. I think Twitter is helping me become a better “headline communicator.”

  66. mattroyse says:

    @journalistics Thanks for your comment, Jeremy. I have been working hard on my headline writing skills as well. I think Twitter is helping me become a better “headline communicator.”

  67. DatingCoachKK says:

    As a NON PR person who is finding her self in the NEED to venture more into this worl I loved, your article. It is very intimidating and some what overwhelming when you are unclear on how to make PR happen. Your tips make it sound easy!

  68. DatingCoachKK says:

    As a NON PR person who is finding her self in the NEED to venture more into this worl I loved, your article. It is very intimidating and some what overwhelming when you are unclear on how to make PR happen. Your tips make it sound easy!

  69. […] This post originally ran on Spin Sucks. […]

  70. #PRread: 10 Tips to Become a More Successful PR Pro http://bit.ly/dwaGDD <- A staunch supporter of tip 1 and 3!

  71. […] 10 Tips to Become a More Successful PR Pro written by guest blogger, Matthew Royse, nails it with the number five […]

  72. […] asked to me to be a contributor. Similarly, my guest posts to Gini Dietrich’s SpinSucks, “10 tips for becoming a more successful PR pro,” and “7 ways social media is changing PR” have given me incredible exposure. These efforts […]

  73. […] According to Matthew Royse, author of Knowledge Enthusiast, he provides 10 tips to help us become a more successful PR pro. […]

  74. Haolin_ says:

    Great post! I like your suggestion to hone your writing skills. I am not a native English speaker, so it’s not easy for me to have the technical writing skills to write a captivating headline. I am still working hard to improve my writing skills. Thanks for sharing these informative tips!

  75. […] economic distress has created. I was reading tweets and articles about PR when I stumbled upon “10 Tips to Become a More Successful PR Pro,” an article posted to Spin Sucks by Matthew Royse. I thought the article was decent and helpful, […]

  76. sophieanderson30 says:

    This tips are something that every PR should look to. social media for hospitals

  77. sophieanderson30 says:

    This tips are something that every PR should look to.
    -social media for hospitals
    http://impyre.com

  78. […] Five Things You Can Do to Be Successful in PR Gini Dietrich | Email | No Comments I was trolling through our Google analytics the other day and found several people had come here by Googling,”How to be successful in PR.” […]

  79. […] order to be successful in the world of PR it is important to follow these 10 steps. Always keep in mind that there are many PR professionals in the PR world, but find a way that you […]

  80. […] 10 tips to become a more succesful PR pro Print ze uit en ga ermee aan de […]

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