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Career Story: Public Relations Professional

Public Relations Professional

Job Title: Public Relations Professional

Type of Company: We develop coverage for clients that cannot be bought (as opposed to paid advertising)

Education: BA, Goucher College (Towson, MD) •• MA, Boston University •• Ph.D., University of Utah

Previous Experience: I taught French at the university level.

Job Tasks: I work with clients to enhance the public's awareness of whatever they sell, "positioning" their product with precisely consumers they're trying to target. Most of all, I strive to create cut-through-the clutter communications that will get the attention of the press and the media and appeal to their various audiences. These "communications" can include special events that embody a client's message, news releases, feature articles and media appearances.

My work also includes litigation public relations in which I work with attorneys and their clients to protect their brand and reputation during litigation; and book and author launches to generate interest and sales through press and media coverage.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my work is succeeding: getting coverage for a client, getting client messages out effectively, and developing creative strategies. Having your client trust you completely and using you as an advisor.

The worst part is failing.

Job Tips:
1. Take liberal arts courses as well as PR courses.

2. Study a foreign language.

3. Observe journalists and analyze news coverage to see how the content is being presented, why is it being presented that way and ask if it is truly objective

4. Learn to write in layman's terms and to be as concise as possible, always cutting down the number of words that you use in a press release or a pitch. Less is always better.

5. Prepare your phone pitch in advance and have your key message(s) ready in two or three intriguing sentences.

Additional Thoughts: PR is not spin but an earnest and thoughtful effort to communicate fairly and proactively on behalf of a client. Spin will ruin your relationships with journalists and reporters. On the other hand if press and media trust the message that you send to them, you will earn credibility in their eyes and they will trust working with you. Credibility as a PR professional is the most important ingredient that you can bring to your profession and to your client in addition to persistence, preparation, creativity, hard work, and organization.

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