5 Tricks to Help You Think Like a PR Professional

26 Jun

lightbulb and paper

By Meagan Hardcastle

Although I’m still considered a “rookie” in the public relations industry, I must say I have learned quite a bit over the past three years ‒ accredited to my coworkers, yes, for challenging me daily, but also to my own eagerness to learn and succeed. As an introvert at first meeting (my colleagues might claim otherwise), I took the opportunity to sit back and observe the tricks of the trade. MCA Public Relations offers a full spectrum of marketing communications approaches, taking advantage of the variety of strengths on our seasoned team. Don’t worry! I’ve vetted my colleagues thoroughly to verify the tricks I’ve picked up along the way are nearly foolproof.

Coming from a marketing background and prior internship with MCA, I wasn’t foreign to the strategic thinking of a PR professional. However, upon increased interaction and engagement in the industry, you start to notice trends, just as you would in any industry. Notice, no stereotypes, only trends in thought process. So, here they are! Whether you are aspiring to be one or seeking to better understand them, here are five tricks to help you think like a true communications professional:

  1. Are you talking to me? Know your audience and how best to resonate with them. MCA is in the business of storytelling, so you need to understand what your audience values. Think about the motivation each audience has to read the respective article, blog or press release. Hint: self-promotion and how your product is the “best ever” isn’t a strong motivator.
  2. Messaging is most important. Headlines and sound bites run through your head during sourcing calls or reading through press releases. Always think about consistent messaging. How can you best summarize this product? How to capture the essence of an event? What’s your elevator pitch? Help your audience identify what’s most important.
  3. Think in track changes. You tend to edit everything. Press releases and articles go through many editing processes and require an eagle eye. Soon enough, your eye will be drawn to grammar or punctuation errors everywhere. Think of these random opportunities as a way to keep your skills sharp.
  4. Being on brand. How should the company respond to a media or analyst question? How does the response contribute to the overall messaging? The mantra of “putting yourself in their shoes” could not be truer when in this situation. In an agency setting, you work with a variety of clients, so being on brand is critical. As much as you play a part in helping strategize the company message, you also play a part in continuing to deliver that message and ensuring that its reflected throughout all communications efforts and vehicles.
  5. Keep in check with the latest trends. Whether it’s the newest social media trend or the updates in your industry, be in the know! Google alerts and Facebook trends are a good place to start. Following your favorite influencers on social media or a newsletter by your favorite bloggers, there’s a different way for everyone. Basically, be eager to learn and curious about the latest and greatest in your field.

While there are many more ways to train your mind like a communications professional, I certainly can’t give away all the family secrets. Some of these skills come with practice, but others come with great mentorship. Can’t quite master the PR mind, don’t worry, we have you covered at MCA Public Relations.

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