PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

Being a Career Strategist

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard a trend from multiple recruiters and professionals concerning what they look for in a prospective employee. More than just having internships, demonstrating the right skill sets and showing a professional attitude, it’s important to remember the difference between strategy and tactics. In your own career, you can show employers that you are a strategist, which is more important than just contributing to the tactics.

So, what’s the difference between a career strategist and a career tactician? Here’s what a career tactician does in college and in their early career:

  • Makes a list of internships to complete
  • Plans their class schedule to fulfill all requirements
  • Has a portfolio full showing different things they can do
  • Goes on a study abroad to have international experience

Here’s what a career strategist would do in the same situations:

  • Keeps internship and career options open, but keeps in mind how it will help future roles
  • Takes classes that supplement their career interests, not just to get the credits done
  • The portfolio shows they were part of a campaign and contributed to the success of it
  • Studies abroad and is able to “unpack” and apply their international experiences

There are plenty more, but what it comes down to is being able to see the big picture of what you’re doing and why. If you are a strategist, you can answer why, when, what’s next, was it successful and what would you have done differently. It’s also important to remember that you can be a leader no matter what company or organization you are involved in.

plan1

I think it’s a good idea to take a top down approach to college vs. a bottom up approach. That is, keep in mind what you want to do upon graduation and then find the best things to fill in the gap of that goal and where you are now. If you want to go into PR, a good idea would be to have different internships that emphasize different things.

If you don’t know what you want to do when you graduate, you can still be a strategist. Your goal of what you want to do upon graduation will still require general skill sets that you can enhance with collegiate experiences. Personally, this is where I’m at. I know I want to do PR when I graduate, but where I want to work and with what kind of company… I’m not set in stone. I still know what I need to work on and improve, so I am still able to be strategic.

After you have created your top down plan, it’s a good idea to micromanage each step. When you earn those internships and leadership positions, don’t come in with a checklist of things you need to have. You should approach everything like a sponge – absorb as much information as possible and look at your projects from the big picture prospective. When you’re assigned to write a press release, you shouldn’t just do it. Ask why you’re writing the release and how it is important to the client. The Career Strategist blog has some great posts that talk more about preparing for a strategic career.

Seth Godin wrote a great post on the difference between strategy and tactics. He even says the right strategy can make any tactic work. So, when you’re planning your career, make sure that you know where you want to go and that you’re taking the right steps. Look at the big picture of what you want to accomplish in your early career that will propel you forward.

So, are you a strategist? Any tips or advice on how to become one?

Photo by soccergoalx on Flickr.

Filed under: Internships, Professional Development, Public Relations, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fresh Start

I’ve been blogging about being a public relations student at MSU since August and I’m hooked. I’m learning a lot, and I hope channeling what I learn is helping you, too.

So, as I sit here in my “New Media Drivers License” class taught by Derek Mehraban, CEO of Ingenex Digital, I wanted to give my blog a fresh start. The students in the class will each be developing a blog, joining the social media conversation and learning how it’s changing the world. Here’s some more information on the course – it’s going to be great.

I have big plans for this blog. I want to have more guest posts on here from you guys. Currently, I’ve got some lined up so get ready for those. Also, I want to share more relevant information – not just my own. Eventually, I would like to create a tool kit for students starting off in PR. In the immediate future, however, I’ll be sharing what I learn as I go through this 10-week course. I can say with full confidence that this is the path public relations education needs to be taking in today’s day and age.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your help in sharing and contributing, and so do the readers.

What do you think of my blog’s new brand? Any other suggestions?

Filed under: New Media Drivers License, Public Relations, Social Media, Uncategorized, , , , , ,

Why and How to Blog

To blog or not to blog. I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers discuss why they blog, and I want to chip in my own two cents.

I blog simply because I want to help other students like me. While I try to provide my own perspective on things, I like sharing what I learn. I also like learning from other people – students, professionals and everyone in between.

If you’re looking to start a blog, here are some basic tips:

  • Use wordpress.com. It’s free, easy and all around awesome. You can see how many people are looking at your blog, where your blog is being passed around, and a couple other useful pieces of information. Honestly, it’s cool to see how many people look at your blog, but also can be depressing. Don’t let it consume you!
  • Name your blog. What’s your personal brand? It should apply to your blog. Make sure it’s SEO (search engine optimization) friendly.
  • Think about what you want to blog about. It doesn’t need to advance yourself or your career, but find that niche that you can write about. Here is a post talking about finding a successful niche.
  • Get involved with social media. Haven’t you heard me say this enough? Read other blogs, like a lot of other blogs, and start commenting on their blogs. Then get yours going. Start on Alltop.com and work your way around to find blogs that will actually help you out.
  • Once you start blogging, it wouldn’t hurt to hire a copy editor. I hate when something slips through my young and inexperienced eyes, so I have a couple “lucky” people that get to check over my posts. Go Becky and Christina! They rock, but they don’t have their own blog (yet).
  • Proof your work.
  • Find communities to interact with. I found homes with PR Open Mic, Brazen Careerist and 20 Something Bloggers. Just remember that it takes a lot of time to build relationships in each community.
  • Did I mention to proof your work?
  • Are your ideas new and fresh? Keep on top of new trends and ideas in order to separate your blog from the rest. Hopefully mine doesn’t poop out too much – that’s what you’re reading it, right?
  • Keep the party going. Try and post at least once per week. At the very least, keep on Tweeting and sharing to build credibility.

If you don’t like my ideas, here are some great posts on how to start a blog. They’re pros.

  • One of my favorite posts from Penelope Trunk shows how to start a blog.. on her blog.
  • Guest post on Chris Brogan’s site pointing out what bloggers are doing poorly and how they can learn from professional journalists.
  • Scratch that. CB has a whole section on how to blog here.
  • Here is what you don’t want to do as a new blogger from Jason Falls.
  • For more tips on writing in a niche, check out Coppyblogger’s post here.
  • A great guide on making your blog successful in 90 days from the Influential Marketing Blog.

So, whether you are an public relations student, a seasoned PR professional, an engineer, a mom or even a regular Joe, think about starting a blog. Clearly define what the blog is for, and start interacting. But don’t start a blog just to start a blog.

I’ve been surprised how much I’ve learned since entering the blogosphere. You can do it too. Honestly.

So what have you learned to be best practices since starting a blog? How do you find your nitch? If you have a new blog, post a comment – I would love to check it out.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Finding PR in Everyday Life

Internships. Love ’em or hate ’em, you gotta have ’em to get a job in public relations. The job market is getting more and more competitive, especially in today’s tumultuous economy. But it’s not just a solid internship experience that will separate you from the rest of the crowd. At the big agencies, they sometimes review more than 300 resumes for a summer internship. So besides an internship, what else will separate you from the rest of the crowd?

When it comes down to it, there are a couple of key principles that public relations practitioners must be proficient in.

  1. Strong communication skills
  2. Generating content for a myriad of communication channels
  3. Ability to adapt and learn

A huge part of public relations is communication skills. Where can you practice this? I think a better question is where can’t you practice this? Practicing AP style in regular e-mail conversation, papers for class and even on your resume is helpful down the line.

Generating content is something that you will have to do in virtually every function of public relations. This might include writing and drafting speeches, writing and editing articles for a company newsletter and generating content for a Web site. The best way to get this going is to get involved with a campus organization. It’s even better if the organization is not PR-oriented because this will allow you to build and develop a public relations system for the group.

Today, with the constant changes occurring in the public relations landscape, it is integral to keep up with the times. Read PRWeek, subscribe to blogs, join online conversations, join professional associations.. the list is endless. Support your own professional development and make sure that you are saving money to partake in professional development.

Besides becoming proficient in those three skills, there are several experiences you can have outside of a public relations internship are pretty important in making you a more well-rounded pre-professional:

  • Sales. Some love it and some hate it. Whether it’s telemarketing or working at your college newspaper, the skills you learn in sales are critical to pretty much any career. I work at The State News, MSU’s newspaper, in the advertising department, so I’m responsible for selling ads. Every day, I’m cold calling potential advertisers, building relationships with current advertisers and working with a team to accomplish individual and department-wide goals. It sounds a lot like PR, and it is.
  • Writing for different mediums. This is something everyone can work on, and I’m looking for new ways to try this out, too. Writing for your college paper is how a lot of great PR students get experience and I would recommend it, too. It’s also a good idea to try out alternative and online publications to get a feel for different writing styles. Maintaining a blog doesn’t hurt, either.
  • Usability of social media. Not only can you get yourself out there online, but this is also an open forum for networking. You can find and connect with new people.

In general, one who can draw from multiple experiences and can demonstrate a strong ability to learn new things is a pretty solid candidate for any position. As a manager in the ad department, I take part in the interviewing for new account executives. That’s what I look for, and that’s what a lot of recruiters are looking for, too.

*Most of this post comes from my favorite career-related book is Knock ‘Em Dead. They have a killer Web site with a FREE resume critique section. Check it out!

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,

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