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14 (mostly) free shortcuts to power up your PR career

With the days still short and cold, now is as good as time as ever to hunker down and think about how you could reboot your career. We ask PR chiefs for their top pieces of advice for getting ahead in this industry.

1. Follow key influencers

Hannah Craig, head of PR agency PHA North: “Follow influencers of all sizes, analyse their content and see how they bring paid partnerships (and brand key messages) to life, understand what makes the content successful and why it’s valuable to brands.”

2. Wise up to Google tools

Hannah Craig: “Get familiar with various tools provided by Google: learn how to analyse Google trends to understand what consumers are searching for. Get familiar with how to leverage Google Analytics so you can prove coverage impact.”

3. Find a mentor

Hannah Craig: “Find someone you admire in the industry and ask them to be your mentor. Use LinkedIn, you’ll be surprised how many people will respond positively.”

4. Research other marketing channels

Kelly Double, head of integrated communications at new business agency Ingenuity: “The ability to advise on and integrate with other marketing channels and an awareness of their role in growth will make sure you stand out from the crowd of competent press officers.”

5. Focus on your passions

Kelly Double: “There are so many avenues to pick from, so if you’re starting from scratch let your passions lead you. If you love design, develop your photoshop skills. If you love to chat (what PR doesn’t?), hone your interview techniques and learn how to edit a podcast. If you’re all about reach, learn the basics of paid-for LinkedIn ads.”

6. Be kind to yourself

Hannah Syers, senior PR manager at marketing agency Fox Agency, “First, upon rebooting any career, be kind to yourself. Decide what interests you, discover where your passion lies and go for it. Take the time to learn the industry in which you want to work in, gain a deep understanding to give you the confidence to speak and write with authority.“

7. Follow key journalists

Hannah Syers: “Follow key journalists for media titles that work within your sector of focus.”

8. Grow your agency network

Kaylie Dean, founder of agency Bloxham PR: “Extend your local network, connecting with agencies known to you can be a great way to grow your network, share tips and connect.”

9. Use industry resources

Kaylie Dean: “Utilise all of the assets available to you - PRmoment, CIPR/CIM and the PRCA are all key bodies which offer plenty of opportunities to learn and develop your skills, as well as keeping ahead of industry news.”

10. Make new online connections

Hana Bednarova, MD at digital PR agency Shout Bravo : “When it comes to rebooting your PR career, there is nothing better than connecting with people in the PR industry that you admire and would like to learn from. PR professionals are very friendly and those that I had the pleasure to meet were always very keen to help people entering the industry and those that want to progress their careers.

“Connect with people on social media - LinkedIn and Twitter, but also take that extra step and message people, ask them questions. Now we can meet again, ask them for an in-person catch up.“

11. Read books, blogs and articles

Hana Bednarova: “With regards to training and resources, there are so many incredible PR courses, but I would highly recommend reading blogs and articles from those PR professionals you admire. Our industry evolves and keeping in touch with people's opinions and experiences they share is so valuable.”

12. Find the right training course

Katherine Walking, senior account executive at legal communications agency Byfield Consultancy: “Attending webinars and training courses is beneficial both to refresh any rusty skills and to learn new competencies for progressing your career. There are a whole range of courses provided, geared towards those entering the industry to seasoned professionals.”

13. Seek advice from colleagues

Katherine Walking: “Your colleagues are your team - they are there to share their knowledge and support your career development. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions; we all learn from each other’s experience.”

14. Connect with other PR professionals face to face

Katherine Walking: “Look to attend PR events. Listening to the experiences of other PR professionals, sharing stories on successes and on overcoming challenges, is likely to help reignite your spark.”

Being connected and learning from others is key to get ahead, and events and seminars are a perfect way to do both. To get you started, check out the PRmoment events and seminars available here.

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