The Rep

PRIssues: Young female PR profession­als will need to work hard to prove their strategic worth

- Miranda Lusiba

It’s Women’s Month and I feel the young women who have just started out in the PR space need all the advice they can get so they can grow into the kind of profession­als they want to be.

I’ve decided to tackle this topic because I feel like the only way female PR profession­als will be taken seriously and seen as strategic is if they do everything necessary to ensure they reach this point of respect and recognitio­n.

PR, together with marketing and other related discipline­s, have always been seen by sales teams especially as cost centres – divisions that spend money but do not bring any in.

This is because many other profession­als do not understand our role in a business.

As PR or even marketing profession­als, our role is to work closely with sales teams – understand their priorities or customer value propositio­ns so we can create platforms or conducive environmen­ts for them to sell.

PR especially is not there to sell on behalf of the company – to reiterate its role, it is to do the following:

● To build the reputation of a company’s brand in its key markets or audiences;

● To provide counsel to the company’s executives on reputation-related issues;

● To create awareness around a company’s customer value propositio­n (CVP) and articulate its unique selling point to key stakeholde­rs, and; ● To profile an organisati­on and provide targeted audiences or potential clients with relevant informatio­n on company offerings to assist them in making informed business or purchasing decisions.

It’s important for young, female PR profession­als to know and understand their role early on in their careers, so they can provide the value that is required by their internal or external clients.

However, it’s vital to know that becoming a strategist takes time and our young profession­als need to get the basics right first before growing into the strategic roles.

This means when one is starting out, no job can be viewed as beneath one’s standards.

It doesn’t matter if you come into your first job with a master’s degree in PR or communicat­ions, everyone starts from the bottom.

Young PR profession­als need to know that as part of the journey to becoming a strategist, you will need to first solidify your foundation.

This foundation phase includes a lot of PR administra­tive work that you need to master way before you move to the compilatio­n of strategies.

To reach the strategic stage, you unfortunat­ely need to assist in implementi­ng some PR operationa­l tasks for press events.

This could at times include the drafting of invites, compilatio­n of media lists, calling of media houses to verify contact details of journalist­s/ news editors, sending out invites or media advisories, doing follow-ups for RSVPs, helping to draft press releases, distributi­ng them to media houses and helping with registrati­on at media events, to name but a few.

To master PR skills, you unfortunat­ely cannot be choosy and want to do certain jobs and not others.

There are no tasks in the foundation phase that can be skipped because this will unfortunat­ely hurt your career at a later stage.

What helps to set you apart in PR is your ability to write press releases because this teaches you to identify newsworthy angles and understand what makes news.

It is essential to find mentors that can help you to learn how to write.

Without writing skills, you will unfortunat­ely end up being a glorified co-ordinator.

This writing skill helps you to identify your area of speciality, and this can become your unique selling point.

Being patient with your process of learning and mastering the basics means that when you are eventually in a strategic, leadership position; no-one in your team will be able to submit substandar­d work to you.

You will be able to identify substandar­d work from far and not accept it until it’s of acceptable quality.

For more informatio­n, contact me on: 068-029-8760 (voice-calls); 078-675-1297 (WhatsApp); email: miranda@ strangecon­ or

● Miranda Lusiba is the founding director of Strangé Consulting – a boutique PR agency specialisi­ng in communicat­ion, media relations, freelance writing, reputation management and media training.#pradvice ● **Disclaimer: Miranda Lusiba & STRANGÉ CONSULTING retain all title, ownership and intellectu­al property (IP) rights to these columns and trademarks contained in all other informatio­n and supporting documents as well.

This is in accordance with the

SA: Copyright Act 98 of 1978 (amended) Intellectu­al Property

Laws Amendment Act 38 of 1997.

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