Working in high tech PR is not for the faint of heart. Things move at lightning speed and just when you think you know something for certain, then – poof! – innovation happens and turns everything you thought you knew on its head. How can you succeed in a profession that can swallow you up faster than quicksand?
I asked a few of my colleagues the one thing they do each day that has helped them be successful. Here are their responses:
- “I start my day by reading about our industry and trends and then applying that to our agency’s clients and new business development purposes. Without reading and staying current, it is impossible to proactively guide our clients and our business.”
- “I treat my inbox as a to-do list. Anything that isn’t an action item, or has already been handled, gets filed away by quarter. It’s a technique I learned from a former colleague, and it helps me stay organized.”
- “Read. I can’t emphasize enough how important reading has been to my success. My mother is a librarian and I grew up inside libraries. That taught me a tremendous respect for the power of news – and of stories. Reading for an hour each day not only centers me in the here and now in terms of what’s going on in the world, but it allows me to come up with new ways to consider client stories and provides new questions about how their visions mesh with trends. Let’s face it, it would be awfully hard to write pitches and to craft messaging if you weren’t grounded in what everyone was (and wasn’t) talking about. It also gives you a tremendous appreciation for the importance of strong impact statements. That’s particularly important in tech when folks can play up speeds and feeds first and the human element second.”
- “I remind myself of my goals, how much work I’ve already put into them and where I want to eventually be. This gives me confidence to keep pushing on when I feel frustrated and it motivates me to keep going.”
- “I double (and sometimes triple) check my work. In PR, things move quickly and everyone is expected to make mistakes; however, you can’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again. You will start to lose the trust of your colleagues and clients. But if everyone just takes a few minutes to double check their work, they will not only catch mistakes, large and small, but they will start to show pride of ownership in what they’re doing.”
- “My daily productivity depends on me having a clear picture of my assignments and deadlines. I start each day by making a list of what I need to get done that day – and just that day. I have another list for the overall week and anything beyond that so I don’t forget things, but I focus best when looking at one day’s activities. And checking things off the list – finishing projects and meeting deadlines – makes me feel successful.”
- “I make sure to read up on what my most important media contacts have written or tweeted about.”
- “Every day I make sure to prioritize my to-do list. In PR, priorities can rapidly change from one day to the next, so I make sure that each day I’m going through my tasks to re-evaluate what needs to get done most urgently based on the latest information I have from my colleagues and clients. Sometimes you wake up to an urgent email that means you table everything you had planned on doing that day. Being in PR means being agile, responsive and being able to tackle any challenge, no matter how impossible it may seem.”
- “The one thing I do every day that makes me successful is come to work with an open mind. In public relations you are constantly presented with new situations, new learning opportunities and new tools/methods for solving challenges. I have found that in this profession it is best to never think you have learned or know it all, and instead keep your mind open to new perspectives and approaches. Not only will your clients thank you but so will your career.”
It is clear from my colleagues’ responses that it is imperative that you be organized, stay on top of your to-do list and are current on the news and trends in order to succeed in PR. I couldn’t agree more. These shared traits are what have helped McGrath/Power develop lasting and meaningful relationships with our clients for more than three decades. That, and the fact that we wake up every day with insatiable curiosity and a fire that propels us forward in our pursuit for excellence.
Sometimes I wonder if we are just a bunch of masochists addicted to the challenge of constant motion. Are we thrill seekers or at the very least, adrenaline junkies? Perhaps all of the above. Whatever we are, we are fearless. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.