Last week I had the honor of being the special guest at the PRSA mixer at Downtown & Vine. During the meeting, I enjoyed the opportunity to meet many of the members as well as a contingent of students from PRSSA Sacramento State and local community colleges, all in attendance.
I spent some time cogitating over public relations leading up to the meeting. Admittedly, I was inspired about the future of our city in light of the response to our Art Hotel project. In my time working in PR in Sacramento, we have had our ups and downs. Now, more than ever, I believe there is a bright future for our city, and likewise, those fortunate to work in PR.
Whatever sector you represent, government, sports, non-profits, education, technology, the green economy, construction, legal, food and agriculture, the arts or LGBT issues and more, there is a shifting and growing landscape in Sacramento that presents us with an exciting future. As Sacramento continues to evolve, and in many ways lead the nation, each of these sectors’ stories will be told through the lens of public relations. I hesitate to point out, while we may witness these stories from the mouths, pens or fingers of the media, they will most likely originate from PR professionals.
Original reporting by the news media has been suffering for the past few years. News, online and offline, has become an echo chamber. For better or for worse, the news for the foreseeable future belongs to the communications teams with the strongest media relationships – and who craft the best storylines.
I was excited to speak with so many students at the PRSA event. Their most common question: what advice do I have for people looking to get ahead in PR? My advice is almost the same no matter what industry a young person finds oneself;
Work hard on your relationships – all of them.
Cultivate great relationships with the media, peers, mentors, business owners and pretty much everybody else. Business, and certainly public relations, is about people taking your calls and answering your emails. If you cannot forge and maintain positive relationships, you have no business in public relations. It’s right there in the name!
Hone your craft and find an employer that appreciates your contribution.
We live in a wonderful and growing city. If you want to be a part of it, you have to show up. I don’t mean for work. Too many great PR professionals I know with have spent too long locked in agency offices (or as in-house comm professionals), constantly chasing deadlines. Some agencies don’t seem to understand that Good Marketing Comes from Happy Marketers. Employers can show their appreciation in two ways; fair pay, and providing a balanced work environment that fosters civic engagement.
Regardless, the future for our industry is bright. We live in a great city that’s getting better. Get out and enjoy the growth of our region (out in “public”) and play well with others (the “relations” part of the equation) and you’ll reap a fair share of our region’s future. Go get yours!
(Image Credit: Golden 1 Center, Design by AECOM)