Networking and building relationships is a vital part of any professional experience. When it comes to public relations, this skill can be even more valuable due to the nature of the work. After all, public relations is all about knowing the right people and the right avenues to promote a client. So what is the best way to build relationships and network to grow as a professional?
Be Authentic Nothing has more potential to damage a company’s reputation than a lack of authenticity. In today’s digital age, where more and more brands are attempting to reach consumers by any means possible, it’s important to be genuine. No matter how big or small a client is, the public relations professional should take the time to get to know the core values of the brand (and make sure they align with that of the PR firm’s), the background, and the overall goals of the company. This will help bring a more authentic feel to any materials put out by the firm on behalf of the client. Don’t just apply a cookie-cutter formula to every client strategy. What works for one won’t necessarily work for the next, and too much repetition can cause consumers to raise their eyebrows and question the intentions of the company.
Relationships Will Help a Firm Succeed Public relations isn’t just about pumping out content or employing marketing tactics. In order to be genuine and authentic, professionals much seek out relationships with others in the field. Having a good relationship with the local media, for example, can help if a client is in need of some positive coverage. Not to say that bribery is ok, of course, but conducting business respectfully and building a positive reputation can go a long way when it comes time to lobby for a client. And of course, building successful relationships will only help to solidify the reputation of a firm. Particularly in public relations, it’s important that a firm maintains a positive public image. After all, how can they be expected to represent client’s images if they cannot maintain a positive one themselves?
Solid Endorsements Increase Consumer Trust Having solid relationships with others within the network is important as it also helps build consumer trust. Just as authenticity is important, having others who can attest to a firm or a professional’s character is also invaluable. For this reason, branching out and cultivating professional relationships is a necessary skill. In some cases, professionals seem to only seek out others when they themselves are in need of assistance or a “favor”, but they don’t often return that favor. This is unprofessional behavior and a red flag to be mindful of when looking for a public relations professional to fit a business’ needs. In a competitive industry, it’s important that public relations professionals maintain solid relationships with their network and cultivate an authentic audience. Doing so will help bolster the company’s reputation and secure more clients. And, perhaps most importantly, the PR pros can feel they are doing fulfilling and meaningful work with integrity at the end of the day.