Why You Need a ‘PR Pack’

August 3, 2016

[janos levente/shutterstock]
[janos levente/shutterstock]

When you’re starting out in the world of public relations, it’s easy to get swept up in the chaos of client calls and communications plans, losing all sight of the PR professional you want to be. You spend day after day trying to stay afloat — forgetting that, at the end of the day, the most important goal of all is your professional growth.

That’s why, from day one, you need to find your “PR pack” — your tribe. This is a group of motivators who keep you progressing toward your goals to become the best PR pro you can be — even when busy season hits.

But how do you develop your PR pack?

1. Find your “work people.”

You spend the majority of your week in the office, so you need a few pack members there to keep you sane. Whom do you go to for advice? Who’s your go-to, happy-hour person? Above all, whom do you trust?

These people should definitely be part of your pack, and you should build strong relationships with them early on so that they’ll have your back when you need them most. Turn to them for tips on handling a tough client situation, or for ideas on how to rephrase a press release or a Facebook post. They know your business and what you’re going through, so make the most of their important presence!

2. Choose your best PR buds.

Having a PR pack at work is great, but for a fresh perspective (and a break from work talk!), find PR-related friends outside the office. These could be fellow PRSA New Pros members, or some college friends who were with you through the glory days.

Meet regularly with these members of your pack for brainstorming sessions, conversations about the profession as a whole and a gut check on next steps to progress along your PR path. And of course, don’t spend all your time talking about communications — sometimes you just need a good, off-topic laugh!

3. Make the most of your mentor.

Perhaps the most important person in your PR pack, your mentor will help you “see the forest for the trees.” When work is feeling too overwhelming and like it’s just too much, he or she can sit you down and talk you off the ledge.

Schedule regular meetings with your mentor (it’s easy to say “maybe next week!” and then forget about it), and use that time to talk about your feelings, discuss any struggles and strategize your growth opportunities. No one knows the profession better than your mentor, so make sure to capture all of the great knowledge he or she has to offer.

4. Bring in your real-life best friend.

Make sure your significant other or best friend outside of the profession is also included in that pack. Sometimes you’ll face decisions that need an outside perspective — a non-PR opinion — and that’s when your best friend can share his opinion based on real-life situations in the accounting, finance or science worlds.

Sure, the expertise may be totally opposite, but sometimes a new point of view is all you need to make the best choice for yourself.

5. Round it out with your boss.

Think of your boss as an unofficial member of your PR pack. While she might not necessarily know that you think of her in that way, if you win her over enough, then she’ll be in your pack nonetheless. You need your boss in your pack to go to bat for you. You need her to stand up for you when it’s time for a raise, a new title or even just more responsibility.

While the rest of the pack may be designed to help you — to focus on your growth, your dilemmas, your successes and your needs — your boss is there to take your progress and turn it into a promotion.

Your PR pack doesn’t have to kick off with a formal meeting or an initiation. More than anything, it’s a way to think about the relationships in your life and strategize what other types of people you need to surround yourself with. Take a look at your current roster today, and map out your own PR pack for a successful tomorrow.

Stephanie Vermillion

Stephanie Vermillion is a content marketer and journalist in the New York City area. She’s the founder of Stephanie Vermillion Studio, and you can follow her work at @StephanieVermillionStudio on Instagram.

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