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The 2024 State of the Media Report

Get actionable insight from 3,000+ journalists on what they truly want and need from PR teams.

The Best Advice PR Pros Are Giving Thanks For

With Thanksgiving upon us, we asked the PR and comms professionals in our Cision City community, “What professional advice are you most grateful for?” and, boy, were they feeling the love.

We got so many great answers, we couldn’t keep them to ourselves (and where’s the holiday spirit in that anyway?). As a show of our gratitude for you, we’re sharing their answers – and some excellent guidance – with you.

Whether you’re just starting out in your communications career or have years of experience under your belt, we hope you take something away that makes your job a little more joyful (and a lot less stressful) this holiday season.

On starting out:

  • "My first PR mentor told me, 'Promise less and deliver more.' Always found that sound advice. Though truth be told, I've found with clients, it's more like, 'Promise more, and deliver even more than that.'"
  • "Don't be afraid to ask questions! Whether that's with supervisors, mentors, coworkers, etc. People don't mind being asked questions at the right time, and that helps you to grow!"
  • "I am grateful for the advice I was given to never be intimidated or fearful about reaching out and or making a phone call. The worst thing someone can do is say no or hang up. In fact, the exact words they used were, 'Don’t be scared, they cannot eat you.' And whenever I am a little nervous about making a call or feel intimidated in a situation, I remember that at the end of the day, they can’t do anything harmful to me, so what is the harm in trying?"

On perfecting your pitching technique:

  • "Write pitches in the perspective of the journalist: 'What's in it for me / my readers?'"
  • "Also, draft multiple catchy subject lines before you settle on the right one. Your best work may come after flexing that creative muscle a few times."
  • "Customization is so important! Take the time, it’s worth it."
  • "Never attach anything to an email to a reporter. Always use a file sharing service."
  • "Try your best to avoid ever spelling a journalist's name wrong."
  • "Always be polite with follow up!"

On building better relationships with journalists:

  • "Don't waste a journalist's time! Whether that is pitching outside of their beats, sending too little information, or cutting it too close to a deadline. If you want them to cover your pitch, make it as quick and easy for them as possible."
  • "Always respond. Even when it's not what the other person wants to hear or you have to decline an interview, just give an answer so the person isn't left hanging."

On speaking to the media:

  • "Sometimes journalists will include long pauses between your response and the next question in an attempt to get you to talk more. Answer completely and concisely, and say only what you intend to say. Don't feel like you need to fill the silence."
  • "Best advice I've been given was to avoid speculating in a crisis situation. Instead, respond with 'I won't speculate' and follow it with a values statement."

On keeping in mind why you chose this field in the first place:

  • "Do PR for what you love."

Well said. What professional advice are you thankful for? Let us know on Twitter @Cision.

Mary Lorenz

Mary Lorenz is Editorial Director at Cision and writes about best practices and thought leadership for marketing, communications and public relations professionals. She has a background in marketing, public relations and journalism and over 15 years of experience in copywriting and content strategy across a variety of platforms, industries and audiences.