Sloane Fistel|Dec 23, 2014

January 2015 marks my one-year anniversary as an assistant account executive at rbb. I’ve learned much about what makes a great Breakout Brand, as well as the power of saying “Thank you.”

There’s still so much that I look forward to accomplishing, and that’s best achieved by looking back. That’s why I decided to put together a list of the top five skills I feel have been most important to succeeding as a budding PR pro.

1. Proof, proof, proof and then proof again

This is something my colleague Kristy Kennedy has addressed before. Developing an eye for detail is a basic, yet crucial attribute all new public relations professionals must have. While agency life can be fast paced, it’s still important to take the time to thoroughly proofread all your work – even your emails.

I was taught not to send materials to a supervisor unless I was confident they were ready to be seen by a client. I’ve also learned that proofreading on a computer is not nearly as effective as printing out a document and giving it a good, thorough read. (Multiple times.) Also, don’t forget to check for AP style consistency!

2. Do your homework and stay informed

As PR pros, we must become “jacks of all trades,” which is why it’s important that we stay up to date with our clients’ media coverage and relevant industry publications.

After all, we represent our clients every day as we pitch story ideas to media. It’s our due diligence to research reporters’ previous stories and make sure our pitches are relevant, targeted and personalized. We lose credibility with media professionals if we don’t take the time to stay informed.

3. Always ask, “Who cares?”

Earlier this year, I was working on a media pitch with the help of an rbb vice president. He asked me to consider two crucial questions: Why should this reporter write about your client? What’s the angle?

When I have the opportunity to pitch on behalf of my clients, I make sure I have answers to those questions before writing a single word. This keeps me from resting on my laurels and encourages me to look for new angles on a story. (Since I spend quite a bit of time on B2B clients, this is especially important!)

4. Flex your writing muscles

Developing your written and verbal communication skills takes time, but more importantly it requires practice. While assistant account executives don’t write as much as others in the firm, I always ask my managers for an opportunity to do so. That way, I receive feedback from more seasoned PR pros, which is invaluable. (Lucky for me, there are several here at rbb.).

Additionally, rbb offers professional development opportunities such as free webinars and lunch and learns, where I’m able to gain knowledge from other PR pros in the industry.

5. The perks of being proactive

Out of all the attributes I’ve listed in this post, I must say that my proactivity has served me best. I’ll never say no when given a task, and I always have a smile on my face. There is something to be learned from every task, big or small, and I try to never pass on an opportunity to learn here at rbb.

Are you a PR pro? Leave a comment below with some of the skills you found most useful your first year!


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