What's the best piece of PR advice you've ever had?
Date: 16 November 2011 14:12
There are two pieces of advice I try to follow; the first is to never assume anything and always check facts. The second, is to put reader’s interests before your own. Even if you have something brilliant to say, it’s not worth saying unless the audience wants to hear it.
But “assuming” you don’t want tips from me, I asked leading PR practitioners what advice has been most beneficial to them. David Gallagher, CEO at PR firm Ketchum Pleon Europe. says that he has been fortunate over the years to have had great bosses, coaches and mentors who have encouraged him to be confident, take risks and act with purpose. However, he claims the best advice he received was early on: “This was from a boss who apparently thought me a bit needy, who suggested that I should always seek criticism over praise. One makes you better, the other makes you lazy.”
Alex Deane, head of UK public affairs at PR firm Weber Shandwick, is glad that he heeded advice to change his career path: “The best advice I had to was to make the leap from the Bar to get involved with the civll liberties initiative, the Big Brother Watch. Matthew Elliott of the TaxPayers’ Alliance had known me in my time in politics, knew I missed it, and has a well-developed plan to start a national civil liberties campaign. His advice: ditch the wig and gown and come back to politics. That one piece of advice changed my life and brought me back into the game. “
But advice from people you respect isn’t always so wise. Deane remembers one “delightful” teacher at his comprehensive school who told him that it wasn’t worth applying to Cambridge. Luckily, Deane decided to ignore him.
When it comes to offering advice to newcomers into the PR industry, Paul Sutton, head of social communications at agency BottlePR, has two key suggestions: “The first is not to underestimate the influence of digital. It sounds obvious, but many junior PR consultants get caught up in the day-to-day demands of client work and don’t make the time to develop their understanding of the digital landscape by subscribing to blogs and following knowledgeable people on Twitter. On-the-job training is one thing, but it takes more than that to get to grips with digital, and it’s the people that do who will succeed in the changing world of PR. “
Sutton’s final piece of advice is to believe in yourself: “Just because someone has 10 or 15 years’ more experience doesn’t mean that your opinion or creative ideas aren’t valid. Speak up, make a noise, be intuitive. You won’t always be right, but confidence is a big thing in PR.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?
Neil Boom, managing director at agency Gresham PR:
“Read the papers properly every day. Today, this means read websites and social media too. Good input equals good output!”
Pally Kaur, account manager at agency Cherish PR:
“Always over-communicate internally and externally, including bcc-ing the managing director in emails (so they know what you’re doing). When you’re writing emails, read it back like you’re the client – do you have all the facts and solutions in the message?”
Caroline Kinsey, chairman of PR agency Cirkle:
“People who really want to do something find a way, others find an excuse.”
Written by Daney Parker