Colleen O'Connor October 29, 2021 | 12:57:15

PR Pros Offer The Best Advice They Ever Received

This Saturday, October 30 is National Publicist Day, when PR professionals are recognized and appreciated for their work. 

Digging into the significance of this day, on October 30, 1906 The New York Times published an announcement by Ivy Lee, also known as the father of PR, of a deadly train crash involving the Pennsylvania Railroad. Lee represented the railroad, which did not want to distribute a public statement reacting to the news. He convinced them otherwise, marking what many consider as the first press release

Some of the best pieces of advice to PR people are not taught in the classroom but rather delivered by mentors and peers. To commemorate this day and celebrate PR colleagues across the world, we’re sharing some of the best PR advice we’ve received in our careers.

Dorothy Crenshaw, CEO and Founder 

“My first PR agency boss, Bob Dorf, used to say that his inventory went down in the elevator every night. And it’s true; in this business, all you have is the time and talent of your people. That’s at the heart of what was probably the most obvious, but still the best, advice I heard about the business of PR. During my time at Edelman, founder Dan Edelman came to the New York office for a meeting he’d called to update us on new hires in other offices. Dan had a rambling, shouty style and he closed his remarks by crying out, “Hire smart people!” Some of us laughed, but I blogged about this after Dan died, because, as self-evident as it was, that simple mantra has stayed with me. Dan was right. You should never be afraid to bring on someone smarter, better, or more talented than yourself.”

Chris Harihar, Partner 

“One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was from my first boss in PR, Andy Morris. Of course, it stemmed from an error I made as a fresh faced intern. I had inadvertently included the wrong media story in a daily monitoring report for our client. It was a small error but the client caught it and flagged it for us. Andy pulled me into his office and said, “If we don’t get the little things right, they’ll never trust us with the big things.” To this day, that guidance sticks with me and informs the way we do PR at Crenshaw.”  

Sasha Dookhoo, Director

“The best advice I’ve received is that every interaction is an opportunity to impress clients. As PR professionals, we can sometimes take for granted that we don’t need to do ‘PR for ourselves,’ but this is flawed reasoning. From flagging a new opportunity to a client or sharing coverage that landed, these are key moments where we can highlight our value and expertise to clients. When flagging a new opportunity, we can share details on how this opportunity may help the client reach new verticals or audiences, or why this is such a big win with a notable editor in a specific industry. When sharing coverage, it’s a keen opportunity to highlight the unique monthly visitors for the media outlet, any viewership numbers the site may track per article views, or even any social posts from notable influencers. While these are some distinct ways to impress clients, we should also remember that every time we interact with clients we can showcase our media prowess and strategic insights as we continue to deliver PR excellence.” 

Ron Stein, Senior Account Executive

“The best bit of PR advice I’ve received so far is to stay organized. In the PR world, we’re often juggling many initiatives and tasks at a given time. This can be overwhelming without the proper organizational tactics. What I like to do is keep a priorities list and refer to it at the beginning of each day. What are the things that must be accomplished ASAP? What can wait a bit? This allows me to tackle everything on my to-do list one at a time and devote my full attention to a given task. Plus, there is no greater feeling than when you get to cross something out from that list.” 

Presley Mullinax, Account Executive 

“Some of the greatest PR advice I have received thus far is to slow down. PR professionals are often praised for speed, especially since we are constantly working on a deadline. When you’re speedy, there’s no concern in meeting deadlines; you can capitalize on newsjacking opportunities quickly that result in news and you maintain your client’s relevance. But, mistakes often happen when you’re going a million miles a minute. When you slow down, you allow yourself time to proofread and deliver more explicit messages. There’s room to ask questions and formulate more thought-provoking ideas or campaigns. Lastly, slowing down could result in a more polished piece of work, something you can indeed be proud of.”

Hannah Kasoff, Account Executive 

“One of the most influential tactics I’ve learned to implement in my day-to-day PR efforts is to keep it simple. In our industry, specifically within the Ad Tech sector, it’s easy to get carried away in the jargon of it all. However, reporters don’t want regurgitated marketing language – they want a short and simple description of the news you’re asking them to cover, and why it matters to them. Your ability to break down complex terms into a clear and succinct message will highlight your knowledge of the space, get your stories told, and foster genuine relationships along the way.”

Sarah O’Connell, Account Coordinator 

“I’ve received tons of PR advice from professors, internships and mentors here at Crenshaw. Some of the best advice I’ve been given is to be a great listener. During client and internal meetings, conversations may go off on tangents but there may be great points said that can be used to create a proactive pitch angle or a starting point for a thought-leadership piece. Listening to your colleagues in internal discussions is also a way to get a better understanding of the industry you’re in, your clients and your company. Being a great listener (and writing everything down) allows you to stay on top of your tasks and be that person your team members can rely on for things they may have missed.”

Chanel Roopchand, PR Assistant 

“Being that I am new to the PR world, I had and still do have a lot to learn. During my time here at Crenshaw, I have received great PR advice that I use on a daily basis and will carry on. Some of the best advice I’ve gotten is that learning never stops. There is knowledge to gain each and every day. Continuing to be curious and open to new ideas and suggestions is beneficial and has helped me grow. There is always something to learn from each other and being eager to do so holds great value.”

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