Public relations can be a lucrative -- but also demanding -- career choice. If you have the experience and contacts to start your own PR business, you can expect to work hard but reap more of the rewards for good work. Employment in public relations is expected to increase by 13 per cent by 2018, creating many more opportunities for independent PR professionals.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Promotional materials
- Company website
Quantify your skills. You should be able to demonstrate the positive public relations you have delivered in previous jobs, and metrics like increased revenue, public perception and employee morale can help you show the benefit of your experience. Devote several areas of your company website to examples of your previous successful work.
Leverage your contacts. Every person you know is a potential business contact and a link to every person he knows. Use social media sites like LinkedIn to keep track of who you know and who they know. Give people your business cards to pass along, and don’t be shy about asking for introductions.
Join a professional network. Not only will many business opportunities come from peers in the PR profession, but you will be able to meet and learn from solo practitioners with significant experience. Membership in a professional network also reassures potential clients that you are a bona fide professional.
Work your connections. Tell people that you have opened your own PR business, and ask them to spread the word. Include a link to your company website in all of your correspondence. If you have worked with companies before in other capacities, now is a good time to get back in touch to let them know about the services you can offer.
Build your portfolio. Consider working for lower fees (or even free) to build a portfolio of work that you can use to sell your expertise. Find a small business you think you can help, and offer professional public relations services in exchange for a reference and testimonial when the work is complete. Use your company website and promotional materials to highlight this work and your success.
Tips and warnings
- Create a positive personal brand. Use social media to develop the kind of personality that you want to project to clients.
- Keep up with trends in the industry. Knowing where things are going can help you get there first.
- Don’t burn bridges. Try to maintain good relationships with colleagues and connections, even if you don’t always agree. Those people may have the influence to help you get (or lose) a future contract.
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