Breaking into the world of public relations (PR) can often feel like scaling a mountain, particularly if you're a young person with little in the way of qualifications or relevant experience. Fear not, I'm here to tell you it's completely achievable.
I should know, I've done it myself. I had a troubled upbringing and stopped going to school at 15 - with no qualifications, yet I taught myself everything I now know about PR, through sheer grit, determination and internal drive to live a happier and more fulfilled life.
And what have I achieved as a result? I have delivered successful campaigns for multi-billion pound highstreet brands, well-known public figures, national charity Christmas appeals, and even a huge music festival.
Communication is king: PR is all about building relationships, so building good written and verbal communication skills is essential. It doesn’t have to come naturally, read lots of blogs, to see what works for others and get some inspiration. Practice when you write posts on social media - don’t forget spell check! (Especially if you have ADHD, like me!)
Gain practical experience: Look out for volunteer opportunities with small PR firms or non-profit organisations - or why not start your own charity project, (like I did)? Running a charity event is a great way to get to know local journalists, and practice writing press releases, and managing social media. What’s stopping you?
Don't put yourself in a box: Be you! The PR industry is constantly evolving, and there's ALWAYS room for those with diverse backgrounds and skillsets. It’s super important that the industry represents everyone - that includes you.
Stay in the know about current events: Keep your finger on the pulse of news and trends, and follow influential figures in the industry on social media. It’s always a good idea to ‘get in’ on trending topics if you’re trying to make a name for yourself blogging or on social media, to make sure you stay relevant
Networking: Attend local networking and industry events, join PR groups on social media, and don't be afraid to reach out to people in the industry for advice or connections. Most people are really friendly. What’s the worst that could happen?
Confidence is important… but it can be learnt: PR can be fast-paced and competitive, so a confident and outgoing personality will take you far. You may not be naturally confident, but with the right support and perseverance you can get there! I can help with this… read more about my mentorship programmes at the end of the blog.
Adaptability: Be prepared to continuously learn and adapt to the ever-changing PR landscape… you will be doing different things every day, sometimes multiple times a day. That’s what makes it fun!
Creativity: Get creative with your approach to PR, and always be open to trying new things. This is perhaps the most IMPORTANT one. Think crazy publicity stunts, ‘hooks’ and links to other stories in the press.
Find a mentor or join a short course: All of the skills I mention can be learnt, if you have a passion and drive to succeed. If you want it, don’t let anything hold you back!
And now, allow me to introduce you to Fierce Futures CIC, Fierce PR’s non-profit sister organisation.
We are launching a brand new mentorship and training programme - with the first intake offered to women who have faced trauma and isolation, or are otherwise marginalised (aged 18+ with no upper age limit)
This programme, which is launching this Spring, is fully funded (ie - FREE to participants) but places are limited to just 15.
This is a cause close to my heart, as it represents the very place I started from… I had a difficult (to say the least) upbringing and early adult life. I was frankly, traumatised, and had low self-esteem - but a drive to develop myself and make my life more fulfilled.
So, if you're ready to break into PR or learn more about social media and digital skills, do get in touch using this form