Gini Dietrich

Five Things You Can Do to Be Successful in PR

By: Gini Dietrich | February 7, 2013 | 

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.”

Spin Sucks is the first listing in search rankings for that phrase. Which is great! But it isn’t.

You see, the post is more than two years old and it’s written by a guest author. Not that that’s bad. It isn’t. We love our guest bloggers, which is why Lindsay Bell honored the top 10 from last July through December just yesterday.

But the post is more about how to be successful with media relations than public relations, overall. And, if the vision of this blog is to change the perception of the industry from one of spin doctors, we might need to own more than the first listing in search results for that phrase.

So here you go…five ways you, too, can be successful in PR. (By-the-way, trolling through your analytics to see how people are finding you is an excellent way to curb writer’s block. You know, not that I have it or anything.)

Be Curious

I love to tell the story that when I started my career, my job was to make copies of the clip books. In color. It wasn’t THAT long ago, but back then, the color copiers took something like four minutes per page (it was horribly painful). And I had to change the toner at least twice every time I worked on this project (so I could have also been a copy repairman). What did I do with all that time while the black and then the magenta and then the blue and then the yellow ran across the pages? I read the articles.

I didn’t even realize doing that would help my career, but about six months in, I was sitting in on a meeting and the client asked a question that none of the more senior professionals could answer. I shyly raised my hand (I was VERY shy back then) and answered it. All because I read those stupid articles. You know, the ones the PR team had placed. Every last word of them.

Read a Ton

One of my very favorite questions to ask during interviews is, “What are you reading right now?” You’d be shocked at how many people say, “I don’t have time to read because I am so dedicated to my job.” I think they must think that’s the right answer, but it couldn’t be more wrong. The more you read – and the more you read a lot of different things – the better writer you become. And the better writer you become, well, see number three.

Write More

It’s no surprise content is taking over the world. A few years ago, my dad said, “I’m surprised you decided to start and grow a business. I always thought you’d write.” What he doesn’t realize is how much writing I do every day. Some of it is because it’s what I love, but some of it is because of where our industry is going.

If you’re aren’t consistently writing (as in, daily), you won’t know how to write compelling, informational, and valuable content for your customers. In fact, you’ll have no idea what they want because you’re not getting consistent feedback through your content.

Continue Your Education

Arment Dietrich is at the point, right now, we can either stay comfortable at the size we are or I can get out of my own way so we can grow exponentially. Because I’d like to do the latter, I hired a leadership coach to help me. Just like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods have coaches, it’s important for leaders to have them, as well.

Last week, we were talking about my goals and I said I wanted to get my work hours down to 12 a day. He said, “What will you do with the extra 30 hours in your week?” At the time, I didn’t have an answer (other than cook and ride my bike and write more, which I already do).

Then I realized I really want to take some courses outside of my core expertise. I’m looking at Coursera to learn more about programming, developing, and algorithms. You don’t have to take official courses like that, but if you read more (see number two), you’ll organically continue your education.

Network and Get Involved

At some point in your career, particularly if you’re on the agency side, a boss will tell you part of your career growth includes business development. As PR professionals, we are not trained sales people. Networking is what will save you. Suddenly the people you consider friends because you serve on boards with them (get involved with PRSA or IABC, stat!) will become your biggest allies in finding new business.

I’ll stop there because this is getting long (though I could easily add: Do lots of research, commit to understanding how a business makes money, track your results to an organization’s goals, make friends in other departments so you can figure out how their job affects what you do, ask to job trade with a colleague, use social media for yourself so you understand the nuances of it from a business perspective, write a book, and focus…hmmmm…maybe there is a second blog post in here).

What would you add to this list?

(Ignore this…I’m testing Google+.)

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!