The Web offers people a trove of excellent advice for free
There’s a plethora of great books
, blogs, podcasts
, and chats
on the business that can give you a leg up if you’re just getting started in PR. All you have to do is read, listen and participate.
Though it’s important to immerse yourself in the PR world, sometimes you learn more by getting away from the fishbowl. Students in particular do themselves a big
favor by looking outside the game for information.
Here are three non-PR-related activities that will help you get improve in your vocation:
1. Reading Ernest Hemingway novels.
Papa Hemingway was a trained journalist. His prose has been described as “lean and athletic.” He remains the grandmaster of the kind of concise, direct, and declarative writing you need in PR. Read his stuff, and you’ll not only pick up great writing tips, but also be thoroughly entertained. My favorites are For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms
2. Seeing some art.
PR is not a formulaic, repetitive, robotic game, and the letters don’t stand for press release
. If you are doing it right, it’s art. This is especially true if you are creating off-the-wall, crazy, cool projects that get loads of attention. Though I’ve never produced something on the scale of the T-mobile dance sensation
, my team has done some fun things. The inspiration has come not from reading PR blogs or listening to podcasts, but from exposure to creativity. So, get out to the nearest art gallery, performance art show, or whatever appeals to you in this realm. It should get the creative juices flowing.
3. Watching sports.
My wife cries at the beginning of each NFL season. If you are like her, ignore this. Jokes aside, the sporting world has many lessons for PR people. In many senses, sports are organized chaos in which the winner does the best job of influencing the uncontrollable. Back in the day, “control” used to be a goal of PR
, but now “influencing the uncontrollable” is a more appropriate description of our craft. Sport is emblematic of this and has valuable lessons for PR pros.
Do you have activities outside the industry bubble that have helped you become a better PR professional?
A version of this story first appeared on the blog Proper Propaganda.