Fitness professionals, athletes and coaches know that in order to win
games, they must consistently work on the basics. In fitness, trainers build a client’s strength and endurance with fundamental exercises. Runners train their endurance and speed by running hard some days and running long, slow distances other days. Public relations works in the same way, in which we must constantly ‘exercise’ our basic PR skills in order to be successful.
Master the following basic communications skills with these exercises to stay on top of your PR game.
Write under pressure:
Writing well is fundamental to public relations, and should be one of the top tools in any PR professional's toolbox. It's no surprise then that the first exercise would begin with writing.
First, grab a pen, paper and timer. Next, set up an aggressive timeframe in which you will need to complete your writing assignment, whether it is a blog post, press release or pitch. Then, put pen to paper and start writing. Focus on getting the main message across in a succinct manner. You are a communications pro after all...
By restricting yourself with a time limit, you hone the skill of writing under pressure, which is a necessary evil when you're managing several clients and a ten-page to-do list. This skill will be a major asset in your career, and will help you learn how to write well
under tight deadlines.
Embrace data analytics:
The future of PR is in mobile, digital and social content. Basic media relations may never go away, but campaigns have now evolved to include these three elements. It is important to understand data analytics pertaining to search behaviors, engagement patterns on social platforms, reading and developing insights from graphs, charts and numbers.
The best way to learn data analytics is to dive in and experiment on the digital side. If you run a blog, for instance, start to use Google Analytics to analyze and develop your own insights around engagement. If you use social media (which every PR pro does!), learn to manage your accounts with social media platforms like HootSuite or Sprout Social. Use these tools to develop your skills and then immerse yourself further by reading content related to analytics, attending workshops or classes. Analytics is already turning into a critical part of the PR industry. Those comfortable working with data and digital platforms are in the best position to get ahead.
In the daily grind of PR, we sometimes forget that the fun part about media relations lies in the creativity. During a slow news month, for example, the ability to develop creative ideas and story angles will help keep campaigns fresh and your sanity intact.
Once a month, develop one creative idea you'd like to pitch and place in the media. Step outside the box and consider a 'fun' story angle that hits on your client's core messaging. For example, the LEWIS team in San Diego recently crafted a fun slideshow around an upcoming blockbuster movie, tying the leading character to our client's products. Creativity is at the heart of media relations, so it’s best to practice it regularly.
Have suggestions for more PR exercises? Tell us below!
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