Coloring Outside the Lines

There are an abundance of rules when it comes to working in the public relations field. Some are written and strictly kept inside of an ever-updating AP Stylebook, and others are unspoken and passed down from employee to employee in an agency. There are rules for writing, editing, formatting press releases, sending pitches to reporters and corresponding with clients. From both the outside and the inside, it seems as though everything must be done by the books.

However, as most creative people tend to understand, there are a few rules that are OK to be broken – in a good way, of course. For example, instead of always sending reporters extremely professional emails that could be from anyone, build relationships with them. Ask how their day is going, slip a joke into the conversation (as appropriate) and reference subjects you know they enjoy. Reporters receive so many emails every day, but if yours can stand out, both you and your client win.

Another “rule” that can be broken is the idea that interns and junior-level employees cannot be assertive in their positions. Of course, those at the senior level have been working in public relations for a long time and have in-depth experience. However, after taking some time to learn the ropes, interns and juniors should take the chance to dive in and explore their creative boundaries. Take the initiative to research and come up with a relevant, pitch-worthy story idea; reach out and introduce yourself to clients and the media; suggest ideas for how efforts for an existing account can be enhanced. The sky is the limit, as long as you keep your senior partners and supervisors informed!

My point is simple – coloring inside of the lines will keep you neatly on track for a fulfilling PR career. But why not let your ideas and creativity spill out and away from the traditional? Challenge yourself to embrace the road less traveled, and you will reap the rewards.