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How Traveling Solo Can Make You a More Successful PR Pro

Traveling enriches you personally, of course, but how does it help you become a better PR professional?

Here are 4 things that tie together PR success and solo traveling:

  1. Sharper decision-making skills

Public relations professionals often make decisions with long-term impact for clients, so we must evaluate our options carefully and consider our clients’ overall objectives.

When traveling by yourself, you must make thousands of decisions that affect your safety and the overall outcome of your trip. You learn the importance of making and sticking with decisions; trust your judgment.

  1. Cognizance of cultural differences

In today’s global economy, you’re bound to work with clients or partners based in other parts of the world. The more aware you are of cultural differences, the smoother that partnership will be. Travel immerses you in another culture, pushing you outside your comfort zone.

Language barriers can hamper international partnerships. Be patient and appreciative when communicating with people who aren’t native English speakers. Furthermore, if someone in another culture doesn’t respond to your email quickly, it might be because they have different expectations about timeliness.

  1. Adaptability to changing circumstances

If you’ve ever traveled to a faraway nation, you’ve probably experienced questionable accommodations and confusing streets signs, perhaps even a three-hour bus ride that turned into a seven-hour journey. Unexpected things happen when you travel, and you learn to cope.

In the PR world, things can change quickly. Your client might have a crisis that needs immediate attention, or a journalist might leak news that you’ve been carefully preparing for weeks to announce on a specific day. When these things happen, it helps to be highly adaptable.

  1. More confidence

You never know what you can do until you do it. Traveling solo can be challenging, overwhelming and scary at times, but all the lows make the highs more satisfying.

Knowing that you can handle the challenges of solo travel can give you a new sense of confidence that will help in all aspects of your life and career. Having the self-assurance to stand behind your ideas, speak up in meetings and push back against clients will go a long way as you climb the corporate ladder.

Three Common Public Relation Struggles

Developing a successful Public Relations firm is a daunting task that takes an effective team, extensive experience, and the utmost dedication. Throughout the developmental process, PR professionals have noticed several issues that inhibit the quality and progression of the firm’s intentions. While most of the problems are intertwined, we can observe how their individual flaws can be improved. It is imperative to realize that regardless of the preventive measures, these common struggles are likely to arise and as PR professionals it is our duty to face them with confidence and team unity.

  1. Can your business run without you?

The encompassing aspect of a PR firm is that they provide a service, not a product. Service-based perspectives will often trick its more valued employees to a be more involved with the clientele. The distribution of work and interdependence amongst team members is essential. Just because a client prefers one individual to handle their needs rather than another, if job duties and tasks become too individualized then the business won’t be able to run itself without constant assistance and updates from high-tiered employees.

  1. How to manage and delegate?

Developing a business takes a cohesive and hard working group time to create an effective plan. Professionals in the PR industry, however, have been accustomed to not illustrating a business plan because of the lack of time. Being able to prioritize tasks throughout the company is an essential management skill that will spread the workload amongst employees. Delegating a task that you don’t have time for, don’t want to do, or need help with creating are a few examples of where this skill becomes convenient. Some are so used to having the majority control over a project and feel that any delegated work will produce a less quality of work will never produce successful results. Releasing the burden of tasks to be accomplished saves everyone the stressful tension.

  1. Is it the problem that needs fixing?

One of the biggest issues with people facing a problem is that they want to fix it, but do not expect to make any changes to achieve the solution. Analyzing bad habits can be an extremely critical individual process, yet it is necessary for self-improvement. If a person is upset their workload interferes with their ability to eat healthily, go to the gym, or have personal time to think, then it is necessary to assess any bad habits that may interfere with such goals. It may not be comfortable at first, but the result provides a positive transition. This can be similar to a business model; when put into effect and the issues arise, it is important to analyze how the habits affect the end goals.

PR Skills for the Future

About seven years ago, the Public Relations industry faced one of its greatest transformations: social media. Entering the digital age, technology will continue to provide necessary adaptations through social media and old-school practices to emulate what a successful Public Relations firm is. The circulation of information and data is at an all-time high, and soon jobs may be created simply to filter through the ‘fake news’ and the pertinent information. So, we must ask, what skills will be necessary for the Public Relations field over the next five years?

Crisis Management

This year, brands and companies have already had to ‘up the ante’ on their crisis management. For example, Pepsi and the Oscars, admittingly have come out and apologized for the mistakes in commercials and ceremonies. However, social media has created a new fuel behind identifying slip-ups in inaccurate information, political correctness, and misinterpretations from every angle. Don’t be senseless with your media, be conscious of what you put out in the world because the emergency brake on a social media blunder has become inherently ineffective. The treacherous momentum in a lapse in thinking is almost impossible to stop.

Versatility

Another astronomical change to social media has been the ability to reach an audience that was previously viewed as inaccessible. To be able to communicate across the spectrum and variety of the channels available will improve the accuracy of reaching a multitude of audiences. Building a company reputation can be difficult, but Public Relations professionals can adapt the advertising, marketing, and media relations strategies to fit core concepts. Writing will always be the most fundamental component of the Public Relations field. Matching the message to fit the medium is what has evolved into a glorified and necessary skill of this industry. The ‘one-stop-shop’ ideal is becoming less elusive and more concrete.

Conflict Resolution

The receding face-to-face communication style of the industry and the emergence of a digital workspace has made it extremely difficult to apologize. Saying sorry has never been an easy task, and pushing the platform to social media has made it even more difficult. The need for an immediate response, the round-the-clock nature of attention, and the public space of handling such issues from customers over this channel is extremely stressful. Although some companies will elaborate on the closer connection they now have with clientele, many will not highlight the emergence of a new system that has been created. It is now that much easier to reach a company and explicitly illustrate their wrongdoings and what everyone is upset with. The social media interface does not create a constructive environment to deal with customer service issues and instigates an option for them to continually criticize the company.

5 ways to improve your people skills in PR

Too many PR agencies continue to take a dismissive approach when it comes to managing people.

Good consultants might get promoted as a result of retaining clients, bringing in new business, or delivering great results from the accounts they work on. Once they’ve been promoted, they’re often expected to replicate that success among junior team members, usually with little or no training or understanding of how to get the best out of people.

Poor management can lead to employees feeling frustrated or lacking direction. It can diminish relationships in the office, create an unpleasant working environment, and reduce the effectiveness and success of the organization.

Here are five tips that can make the difference between being a great manager and one who just muddles through:

  1. Understand how much guidance your team members need.

If you’re not sure whether you’re being too controlling with your team members, or if they need you to be more specific and precise when setting objectives, ask them. They’ll let you know whether they’d prefer a different way of working.

  1. Give your team the opportunity to get new experiences.

Some agencies take a regimented approach to client management, with younger consultants restricted to desktop research while senior team members go to events and build relationships with clients. This can lead to frustration as junior team members feel they aren’t getting the opportunity to develop professionally. You might think the person you’re managing isn’t quite ready to attend that important meeting or write the next strategy document, but if you don’t let them try, they’ll never learn.

  1. Don’t be afraid to let your team make mistakes.

If you’ve been in the PR industry for a few years, you probably have tried things that didn’t work. You can impart the wisdom of this experience to your colleagues, but you also must let them make their own mistakes and discover things for themselves.

  1. Don’t undermine your colleagues in front of others.

If you need to give someone negative feedback about a piece of work, don’t do so in front of their peers. Instead, speak with them privately and discretely. Also, if you and a junior employee have a disagreement about how to do something on an account, keep the discussion between you. Don’t debate it in front of others, or you’ll undermine your own authority.

  1. Don’t tolerate bad behavior.

Sometimes agencies make bad hires and bring in consultants with a bad or confrontational attitude. There is often a tendency to ignore the situation and hope that things get better on their own. If you have a team member who is dragging everyone down with negative or unpleasant behavior, make an early decision about whether you want to keep them on staff.

How to take advantage of a slow news cycle as a PR pro

Press release announcements, new hires and ground-breaking business decisions are important decisions made by PR professionals on a regular basis. Following that, many brand managers might not realize that reporters are searching for interesting commentary.

Those who are in the office attending luncheons and company parties are realizing they have extra time to catch up on work that they could not get to right away. That’s good news for you, in terms of PR.

Take advantage of the slow news cycle. Your target journalists might have more time to review your pitches about your organization and its view on industry trends. This can also be a good time to test new waters and reach out to reporters that generally would be too overwhelmed with research and guest-written pieces.

It’s also good to think about your PR and marketing goals. Review what your firm has accomplished and how you can improve your efforts for the future.

PR pros can also use slow time to lay the ground work for a successful PR year. This can include:

  1. Reviewing your list of journalists covering your industry to introduce or re-introduce your organization’s spokesperson who can address relevant topics within your respective space.
  2. Putting together key messages and talking points that might be of interest to a journalist covering your space taking into consideration a timely event in the markets that you can tie into your views.
  3. Attempting to schedule a meeting with a journalist when you are in town or at a conference so you can get on their radar.
  4. Looking at the editorial calendars that trade publications put out and discussing the potential of a byline or commentary on features scheduled for the outlet.
  5. Developing a press release that lays out your organization’s views on trends within your industry, what to expect and what your organization has accomplished so far. This will provide searchable content for journalists that are seeking commentary.

Public Relations and Analytics: What to keep in mind

Over the past ten years, the social use and demand for technology have manipulated the way in which we assess information in the Public Relations field. Previously, PR firms were hired to manage the communication strategies of a company by informing, persuading, and integrating the audience. Although these century-old methods are still used today, it has always been extremely difficult to evaluate the effectiveness behind these messages. For example, public perception of a communication campaign is a tricky category to gauge without using some type of system to judge what makes that campaign strategic and powerful.

Today, PR agencies use analytics to understand what strategies work and don’t work. While this strategy is less time-consuming and creates a sophisticated set of data to observe the effectiveness of a campaign, there are a few tasks to keep in mind before generating a framework for a successful analytics report.

Clear and Organized Goals

The main staple of a PR firm is to increase awareness. Understanding the client’s perspective and where they would like to expand the message will assist in developing an efficient way to measure that message beyond simply spreading the word. Whether the goal is to generate visits to the website or lead visitors to a specific event, a clear goal should be set out. A “25% increase in website visits” can be efficiently measured in a variety of ways to receive feedback on the quality and aim of the campaign.

Market Research

PR efficacy relies mostly on research awareness. For successful research to be completed, the team must have a base understanding of where public perception currently is and how it changes once the information has been released. The progression of the data provides the PR clients with a map to plan-out how they should engage the audience with their content. Despite the product, service or issue being observed, it is better to understand the market research prior to the creation of the strategic message.

Evaluate and Act

Finally, the measurement is analyzed for the effect the communication campaign had on the audience. What has changed and what has remained stagnant? By observing what characteristics of the company were altered by the message, one must consider the time saved and the initiative behind the following PR campaign. Tools like Google Analytics and Cision are available for clients and agencies to grow upon the measurements these services provide. Making these measurements a priority and acting on the results will facilitate an advantage on the quality of the company’s objectives.