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PR 101: The Tips You Need for Back-to-School Season

Emily Roy,  Hallie Erlich,  Amalia Lytle,  Sarah Levine,  Nikki Hess,  Chaneigh Bernard

In honor of back-to-school season, we asked Prosekians to share some of the best advice and resources that they use to help them do well at their jobs—and do well by our clients.

As any PR practitioner worth their salt can tell you, there’s no one-size-fits-all model for this type of career, and some of the best guidance can come from the places and people you least expect. More than that, there’s no such thing as plateauing in your learning experience when you work in this industry. There’s always more to read, listen to, and absorb—which is a big part of why we love what we do; it’s never boring!

While some Prosekians shared useful tips they’ve received from colleagues and mentors throughout their careers so far, others opted to share some more nontraditional sources that provide them with insight into how to improve their PR skills—from writing and editing, to pitching and crisis comms, and so much more.

Whether you’re an aspiring public relations pro or a seasoned PR vet, these PR 101-style tips are great to have in your back pocket whenever you’re seeking inspiration, guidance, or even just a new podcast to binge!

Name: Hallie Erlich

Title: Account Supervisor

Office/Location: New York City

Hallie’s “PR 101”-Style Recommendation: Advice I was given early on was to draft something, then walk away from it.

Why Hallie Recommends This: Keeping your writing concise is important. Say only what you need to say—and keep it brief. After I write a lengthy document, I always walk away from it. When I come back, I read through it again and see what I can cut out that’s not additive.

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Name: Nikki Hess

Title: Account Supervisor

Office/Location: New York City

Nikki’s “PR 101”-Style Recommendation: Hear me out: TikTok. Specifically, this copywriter, Alex James. Alex posts some of the best writing-for-marketing tips and tricks I’ve ever come across.

Why Nikki Recommends This: Alex has a keen understanding of the fundamentals that make for good, persuasive writing. In his TikToks, he uses real-life examples of underwhelming copy and offers constructive feedback on how to improve it in a non-critical and engaging way. No matter what industry you’re in, knowing how to write clearly, concisely, and with intention is a game-changer. In PR, being a good writer isn’t just important for drafting pitches or bylines; it’s also a huge differentiator when emailing with clients, colleagues, and reporters. Plus, knowing how to write well gives you a stronger understanding of what makes for a good story in the press. I highly recommend checking out Alex’s videos (and maybe watching a few cute dog TikToks while you’re at it)!

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Name: Sarah Levine

Title: Associate Vice President

Office/Location: New York City

Sarah’s “PR 101”-Style Recommendation: Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone.

Why Sarah Recommends This: We live in an increasingly digital world, and we need to respect the communication preferences of reporters and other contacts. That said, don’t underestimate the power of simply speaking to someone live. It can help you more easily explain a complicated press release, catch someone whose inbox might be a mess, or get an answer about a conference you’ve been trying to gather intel on. And most importantly, you can develop a human connection with whomever you’re speaking. We work in “communications” after all—so don’t discount the value of a quick call!

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Name: Emily Roy & Chaneigh Bernard

Title(s): Vice President and Senior Account Executive

Office/Location: New York City & Boston

Emily’s & Chaneigh’s “PR 101”-Style Recommendation:  Press Profiles podcast, hosted by none other than Prosek’s own Russell Sherman!

Why Emily Recommends This: Press Profiles is the one stop shop for all you need to know about the top journalists in our industry. Looking for intel on someone’s beat or a fun fact to include in your pitch? Browse the latest episodes and surely, you’ll find someone relevant to who we work with—and get to hear some incredible stories along the way.

Why Chaneigh Recommends This: As you build your foundational PR skills and learn the ins and outs of media relations, Press Profiles is an incredibly helpful resource for stepping into the world of journalism. I like it because it gives you the opportunity to hear directly from the most sought-after reporters in the industry during your walk to class or commute to work, and it’s an easy way to learn something new while sharpening your skills for your next pitch.

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Name: Amalia Lytle

Title: Account Supervisor

Office/Location: New York

Amalia's “PR 101”-Style Recommendation: Follow and interact with reporters on Twitter!

Why Amalia Recommends This: Twitter is one of the first places I look before pitching a reporter. Because many use the platform to increase audience engagement with their stories, suss out story angles and find new sources, it’s a golden resource for PRs to discover new opportunities for their clients. Reporters also love to Tweet about PRs – especially the good, bad and ugly of the pitches that land in their inboxes. Even though some of their feedback is harsh, it’s also beneficial to understand how to customize your pitch to their style for the best outcome.

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