Picture this: I am surrounded by numerous cups of coffee, staring for hours at a blank word document on the computer screen, typing and deleting, and inundated by the intention to create a stellar piece of content for my Press Release but just couldn’t write any. Yeah, I just experienced a writer’s block or perhaps a blank page syndrome, whichever is worst, I have fallen into that category.
Bringing remedy, I decided to do some warming up by starting to write a few practice paragraphs and by coming up with something that is quite personal to me. Well, if there is anything I’ve learned in my work as a Public Relations Specialist over the past eight years- that is to be my own PR. From the time I began working as a PR way back 2004, I have started to appreciate how the principles of Public Relations can be applied to the aspects of my life. So allow me to share few insights that have been particularly invaluable both on my career and my life.
BEING AN OUT OF THE BOX THINKER
This expression is a mantra frequently quoted, especially in our meetings and brain storming sessions. As cliché as it may sound, the intention of this mantra is to encourage creativity, innovation, imaginative thinking and literally, to go out of your comfort zone where we are all “boxed in”. It is like conceptualizing ideas or ways differently and applying them in a way you’d never thought of before. I usually apply this mantra when writing press releases, considering that journalists are flooded with potential stories and pitches on a daily basis, making your write up stand out from the pack is crucial and very important. When I was starting as a PR, I usually write my press releases in a very conventional way using basic information with no story angles at all; sort of ‘boxed in’ type of news. I have noticed that most of my press releases did not pique the interests of journalists, who may have sought to cover the topic further. So I decided to have a different approach in my press releases by creating a compelling story arc through angles that would identify the brand’s place in the industry landscape. The results are quite rewarding as it piques journalists’ interests and drives coverage in key publications. What I learned from here is that when you dare to be different, like going out of the usual norm, doors of opportunities open. It also helps to discover and develop your potential- something you never thought you have had.
BEING A PERPETUAL LEARNER
Last quarter meeting, we talked about business trends and we all agreed that retail industry in moving and changing fast; and is continually evolving. The technology that comprises of internet, social media and mobile devices are the greatest contributors to the rapid changes. Apart from it, there are also more competitors that makes PR job tough. Because change is always present, a PR professional should never stop learning, growing and listening because it is the job of a PR to constantly predict, maintain and understand the attitude of the consumers and the impact to the market to be able to work accordingly. Having insatiable appetite for learning and being curious comes in handy when developing your communication capsules and pitching your stories. Not only it helps in pitching your stories, it also breeds creativity and ingenuity.
I remember when I was in college; I loathed writing research papers and reading newspapers, magazines and books but little did I know that these college works would actually help in doing my job well. So as a renewed commitment I challenge myself every so often to read news and books as well as to write as many topics I can.
Relating this principle in life, change is always present. It is like a bullet train that if you cannot keep up, you will be left behind. So it is always best to learn and grow as a person and to keep up with changing times.
BUILDING A STRONG FOUNDATION
As the name speaks for itself, PR is all about relationship. The main nature of the job is to establish, maintain, and strengthen a company’s image through relationships with media personalities, target audience, stakeholders and other opinion leaders. Building a strong foundation is very important because it will help in building channel to which you deliver the right message to the right audience in the right time while increasing credibility, recognition and good reputation. Likewise, it will also serve as your voice in times of crisis. May it be in business or in life; relationships are basically an investment and an essential component to success. Our strong and healthy relationships (not necessarily romantic ones) can be one of the best supports in our lives. Relationships with our family, friends and co-workers or perhaps significant other not only improve our outlook in life and open doors of opportunities but also help in formulating best response to our life’s concerns.
HAVING THAT raison d’être
My boss once told me that being a PR is literally the personified representation of a company or a brand because a big chunk of the job entails articulating the company’s or brand’s objectives and official views on issues of relevance, primarily to the media. Knowing the company’s purpose and vision as well as the company’s history will help in determining and defining your message as you speak through your audience through channels. Same is true with life, knowing your purpose or raison d’être will help in giving you a sense of direction, fulfillment and happiness. Knowing your purpose will serve as the unstoppable drive that keeps you moving while looking forward to living life to the fullest.