26 Jan 5 Tips for Taking Your PR Career to the Next Level
Agency life, like everyday life, can fly by. It’s busy to say the least, but in a great way. If you’ve survived the first few years at a PR agency (it’s not for all), then you’re already most likely on the right track for success. But, as I said, agency life is jam packed with activity and it’s easy to “just keep swimming” and not think about what is next. It’s not unusual for people to get a few years in and plateau, unsure of how to make the next move. I experienced it myself, and see happen to others as well.
Where I see people get stuck is the jump from account supervisor to account manager, and then again from account manager to director. These are some pretty hefty moves that require a more strategic approach to the everyday grind.
With that in mind, here are some tips for launching yourself into the next level in your PR career:
- Organize Yourself
Being organized and knowing the typical path to achieve your goals can be helpful. That doesn’t mean you can’t skip some steps or take a different path to get there, but it can help set expectations. I’ve seen some amazing account coordinators,, but understanding there are some steps between being an AC and managing accounts is important. So, make sure you know what you want for your career and figure out what it takes to get there. Get your ducks in a row and arm yourself with information and understanding. It will make your journey to the next stage much easier.
- Make Sure Your Foundation is Legit
If you want to be a PR manager or director you have to have the basics down pat. You should be comfortable in networking regularly, have a solid set or reporter relationships established, and know the tools used by your agency inside and out. There’s always room for improvement when it comes to writing, but you have to be confident in your pitch and press release writing, as the next step is to lead the charge on these fronts. Be sure to check all of these foundational boxes before expecting to cross to the next level!
- Understand. Repeat.
I work in tech PR, so its essential I am in the know about what is happening in the industry. I can tell you that it’s changing quickly, and it’s important to keep up with those changes. When you are moving to the next level, co-workers, managers and clients are going to look to you to be able to talk about what is happening around us and in the news that impacts their PR efforts. You have to know what you’re talking about. Writing a pitch for a client selling their technology to government? Knowing there’s a policy in place that helps it sell itself – or, conversely, a policy that present challenges to the product’s potential for success — is essential. Read the publications your clients read before you kick off your day so you’re in the know about industry happenings, and take time to dig in further if you don’t understand what you’re reading. Content is changing quickly, so make sure industry reading becomes a regular habit.
- Be Vocal About Your Career Goals
We’re lucky at SpeakerBox that we have such an open culture, so it’s easy to have conversations about the roles we want to have within the organization. But, even if it’s not easy, your manager, boss or HR person should be aware of your career goals – especially if those goals involve staying with the company and taking on a bigger role. It’s important to let those folks know that you want to take the lead and advance to greater responsibilities, so they can send new opportunities your way as your company grows.
- Take On the Role You Want, Fill the Role You Have
I know you’ve heard it before, but it’s true. Grow your replacement and act like you’re already who you want to be. Mentoring the person who is striving to fill your shoes is one of the best ways to help you free up time to work at the next level. You’ll be valued for helping those who are coming after you and making sure nothing falls through the cracks. Then, you can focus on the role that’s ahead of you. An attitude of bitterness about doing work without the title or pay promotion isn’t the right one and will only hold you back. Take on the role you want because you want it, and the title and pay will follow. But, it’s important to show you have a passion for the position and are capable, so when the opportunity arises there’s no question who should be first in line.
Of course, hard work, reliability, and a willingness to be a team player are all important. But, ultimately, if you’re at the point where you’re taking your PR career to the next level, you most likely are already exhibiting those qualities. Now it’s time to move on by adhering to the five tips I’ve outlined, so you can propel yourself forward in your PR career.