There are a variety of ways to enter the PR profession, whether it’s an apprenticeship, University degree or simply driven by passion. I’ve taken the university route, and here are the top five things I’ve learnt while doing it.
Traditional media is just as important as social media:
One of the key things I have learnt in university is the importance of both social media and traditional media in PR. Social media has become integral in the world of PR, allowing companies to get to know their audience and reaching them at virtually any point in the day – but it does not defunct traditional media.
Millions of people still rely on forms of media such as newspapers and magazines, print or online, meaning that it is still key in reaching a wide audience. The two actually compliment each other well, if there is something that stands out on social media, it often makes it into traditional media, too!
Public relations is not the same as advertising:
A common misconception is that Public Relations is the same as advertising, and I found myself often struggling to differentiate the two before I started my course. While the two do have many similarities, such as the aims to promote a client and gain media attention, there are significant differences.
Advertising is paid media attention – companies pay for a slot in a newspaper, magazine, or social channel, whereas Public Relations is primarily earned media. PR can include articles about a PR stunt that a journalist was impressed with or considered newsworthy, or a product that they tried and loved – it’s important to know which of the two areas you are looking to work in.
ALL communication is key:
Communication is important in any workplace but especially in PR. Throughout my course, I have been given practical assignments involving clients and hypothetical situations. I found that when I did not have much communication with the clients I struggled much more. This helped me to understand the importance of communication, not just between client and customer, but between a PR and a client. Without good communication it can be difficult to know just what the client wants, and make things much less efficient!
The importance of work experience
Work experience is one aspect of preparing for a career in PR that I could not recommend more. Until I undertook work experience with Scoop, I did not have a clear idea of what working within the PR industry would entail. While, of course, the main aspects were clear, theory is much different to practice – it’s hard to know exactly what something is like until you try it, and so work experience is crucial when deciding which career path to take. It also makes you much more employable when you finish your studies, as it helps your CV stand out from the crowd.
You need to be organised
Organisation and time keeping is clearly important in the world of PR – with a plethora of variables to contend with on a daily basis, it’s important to keep your desk (which can double as your dining table these days) and your mind free of clutter in order to keep up with different tasks and client requests. Through essays and work experience, university has taught me the importance of these skills and has definitely prepared me for the bustling world of PR.
While there are many paths a person can take into the PR industry, University for me has been an unforgettable experience that has given me essential skills and knowledge for my future and I will definitely carry these things that I have learnt with me into my future career!