Gain a better understanding of PR to make the right choice for your company
Anyone can hang out a shingle and call himself a PR firm. However, the ability to write and string more than two sentences together does not a PR professional make.
Since the field of PR is still often misunderstood, most people don’t know the difference between a high-quality PR agency and the fly-by-night outfit down the street. In addition, they don’t know what skills and certifications to look for in their PR advisers.
How PR careers begin
Some of today’s PR professionals were simply thrust into their role because they seemed like the best person for the job at the time. They were then left to flounder and struggle until they figured it out. Most, however, worked hard and laid the necessary groundwork for successful PR careers.
It’s a popular misconception that breaking into the PR industry is tough. Aspiring PR pros with leadership abilities and the right training can build on their abilities and do the best for their clients in this ever-changing field.
Before one can make her mark on the PR industry, it’s important to get experience. This allows her to build her knowledge base in order to provide comprehensive services to businesses and clients. You should also check that your chosen PR adviser has a degree in PR, journalism or a related subject, although an advanced degree is typically not necessary in most cases.
Skills to look for in your PR adviser
High integrity and ethics: There are numerous situations that can arise which will require discretion on the part of your PR adviser. Therefore, you need to know you can trust him with your business information.
One question you can ask is whether he is a member of any national PR organizations such as the Public Relations Society of America. If so, this can serve as proof that he follows a strict code of ethics regarding PR issues.
Expertise in the field: Your PR adviser should be able to demonstrate knowledge, success stories and use of best practices. You may often find former journalists who are now in the PR field, but more than just writing skills are required in advanced PR work.
Ask if your PR adviser has expertise in other areas such as reputation management, crisis communications and spokesperson training. You will do best with a well-rounded PR agency that is equipped to handle the majority of your company’s needs.
Strategic thinking skills: It is crucial for your PR adviser to have the ability to critically evaluate your situation and needs to develop the correct course of action for your company. She should be able to see both the forest and the trees.
Find out about her past success stories (and challenges) and how she handled them. This can help give you an idea about her strategy when tackling PR issues.
Finding the right PR agency
The function of PR is to inform, educate and persuade consumers and other stakeholders about the benefits your company offers. PR professionals are charged with creating unique, exceptional initiatives and campaigns to help you tell your story. Your PR agency should:
Be a good fit for your organization.
Understand your industry.
Use the best available technology and tools to help boost your company’s brand, publicity and reputation.
Hiring a PR firm gets you the best of both worlds; you get advisers who know the challenges your company faces combined with an outsider’s point of view. At Axia, we believe that your PR agency should work as an integral part of your entire team to help you achieve your company’s overall strategic goals. To learn more about what Axia can do to increase your profitability, register today for our 60-Second Impact program or give us a call.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter @axiapr.
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