The public relations field is a very important aspect to any business. Although often underestimated, particularly in SME's, where budget could be an issue to begin with, PR is a valuable asset to focus on to bring brand awareness, strengthen your company's public image and help you stand out from competitors. We spoke to Lynsey Littlefield about PR tips every professional should know. Lynsey has 15 years experience working for major fashion brands, events companies and celebrity and PR agencies.
What made you want to get into PR?
To be honest, I fell into PR. I had studied for a degree in Fashion Marketing and Promotion at the London College of Fashion and knew that I wanted to go the marketing or editorial/magazine route. Whilst studying I worked part time at French Connection in store and heard that there was a job opening in the Press Office. I applied and got the job- here I learnt everything about PR from some incredible mentors; I was there for the launch of the controversial FCUK campaign and couldn’t have begun my PR career at a better time.
What is your favourite aspect about your job?
I love working in PR, I have been extremely fortunate that I have worked for some amazing brands and with some fantastic people. I would have to say the best thing about working in PR is seeing the end of result- nothing beats seeing lots of headlines and press coverage/online articles/social shares from the campaign that you have worked so hard on. Even after 15 years of working in the field, I still get a huge buzz from it and enjoy going to work every day.
What are 5 most important tips companies should know about PR?
BUILDING STRONG RELATIONSHIPS
To anyone who doesn’t work in PR, it may seem that all PR's do is lunch and breakfast meetings- which may not sound like much work? Building strong working relationships is a huge part of being a successful PR professional. I believe that it is essential to turn every meeting or networking event into an opportunity to make your presence known. You may not need to work together on a project immediately but public relations is all about who you know. Be personable so that you are remembered. A tactic I always use is to try and remember one fact from everyone I meet, so that when I meet them again I will mention it- whether it's where they live or something about their career or a person that I might have in common with them.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Knowing your audience is so important for all aspects of PR. Firstly you need to understand your product/service and who you want to communicate the brand to. Secondly when approaching a journalist you must do your research and make sure you are targeting the right person for the right type of article. If you get this wrong, it is a major PR fail.
Persistence is essential, every good public relations professional has to be prepared to be persistent and not give up. There is a fine line between being professionally persistent and being a pest- so if you are targeting a new journalist, research when they have busy times and how they prefer to be contacted- Gorkana.com is a great research for this as provides profiles on the journalists on their database.
Good PR’s are always prepared- whatever the outcome. Unfortunately not every story will be picked up in a positive light, but a good PR will have a crisis management plan in place just in case, they will have the ability to turn a negative into a positive. It is very important that if a journalist wants a story and has a tight deadline that the PR can facilitate this.
To be great in the PR field and stand out from the rest, I believe it is important to take chances, have an adventurous attitude with your campaigns, and why not allow the brands that you represent be seen as an innovator rather than a follower. Go for it and take calculated risks in order to get your brands noticed and build their reputation.
Connect with Lynsey on LinkedIn.