This past weekend, 10 other Temple PRSSA and PRowl students and I had the honor of attending the PRSSA National Conference in Washington, D.C. Each year, this nationally recognized professional development conference is held in a different city. Last year, it was right in Philadelphia, but this year we got to travel a few hours south to the nation’s capital. After four days of packed sessions where we learned about various types and aspects of public relations, endless live-tweeting and some sightseeing of national monuments, I am finally able to reflect and absorb what I learned from several professionals sessions I attended.
Agency experience is invaluable
One common piece of advice from many guest speakers was to get agency experience. They stressed the importance of gaining various skills like media relations, pitching, multi-tasking and social media development that all come from working at an agency. One speaker during the tourism and hospitality session, Sarah Lipman, a public relations manager for Hilton Worldwide, stressed how agency gives you the best options and skills that are transferrable to any other sections of public relations that you may go into later like corporate. It is also well-known that it is good to try an agency internship in college because it’ll help determine if the fast paced agency experience is for you or not instead of taking a job at an agency and not liking it.
Stay in contact with Linkedin
Today, with so many different ways to contact people via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email and telephone, it can be hard to actually get through to that people in your industry you want to reach out to. At conference, I learned that Linkedin is essential to keep in contact. One speaker, Anthony LaFauce, VP of Digital Communications Group at Porter Novelli, stressed how Linkedin is the best way to network and contact professionals in your desired field just to ask them questions and meet up if you’re in their area. He talked about how networking can be causal like going to happy hours but that following up with a personalized Linkedin request is the best way to maintain that connection. Before sending out all your new invites, make sure your Linkedin is updated with all your past and current positions and includes skills you possess like Google analytics, SEO, and Vocus or Cision.
Better to be last and right
In the 24/7 world of public relations, it is easy to want to push out content and be the first to break news for a client. The reality is that hurriedness often ends up to incorrect information getting out and incomplete stories. Our field is built on trust and transparency as professionals stressed all weekend to us. Speakers like Jason Mollica, Temple alum and president of JRMComm, spoke about how important it is to have and keep trust from both your clients, publics and the media. He admitted that he would rather be last and right then first and wrong. Always take your time to double check you work whether it is an email or press release or tweet.
The conference was a wonderful opportunity to immerse myself in public relations and refocus my short and long term goals. It was great meeting other students from around the country and seeing what steps they have taken professionally to put themselves ahead and continually grow. Next year the conference will be held in Atlanta, GA, so be sure to start saving now to travel to the south because learning about public relations never ends.
Do you have any tips you received from a fellow student or professional that resonated with you? Comment below!
This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Shaun Luberski. You can follow Shaun on Twitter at @sluberski94.