ImPRessions

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December 7, 2012

What It Takes To Succeed in Public Relations

People outside our industry sometimes ask what qualities or proclivities are required for a successful PR career. I’ve always resisted the stereotypes – from PR party girl to press agent – because very few people I’ve worked with conform to those two-dimensional images. And yet, there are some “types” who have a passion for PR and seem to thrive in it. Are they that way from the start, or does the business bring change over time? You decide.

The stress addict. This is the classic agency animal who thrives on constant change, multiple clients, stretch goals and brutal deadlines. Those who are easily bored often fall in love with the PR life, especially on the agency side where variety rules. But beware, the constant shifts can be murder on your attention span.

The word nerd. Yes, we still exist. Plenty of PR types started in editorial or journalism. We love language and enjoy nothing more than pounding out a blog post or even a press release in a pinch. Even better, we can refresh a program by coining a phrase or putting an old idea in a new package.

The pop culture vulture. In my view, creative success and satisfaction are virtually impossible without a passion for what’s new and now. The water cooler is now Twitter, and the buzz cycle is faster, but being plugged in has huge rewards in this business.

The networker. On the agency side, you’re only as good as your new business pipeline. Those with a talent for closing the degrees of separation and converting them to opportunities will always do well.

The proselytizer. It’s hard to succeed in media relations without drinking the client Kool-Aid, at least a little bit. Those who genuinely believe in the brand promise, the product benefit, or the technology breakthrough, and who are natural evangelists, will come out on top in the publicity game.

The perseverer. Let’s face it, this business is rife with rejection, — from prospective employers, journalists and bloggers, and potential clients. At the end of the day, a talent for handling rebuffs and a dose of sheer guts can go a long way.

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