The Best PR Advice I’ve Ever Received

Between managing different clients, media relationships and now social media channels, PR can be a delicate balancing act and a crash course in how to be efficient while still keeping a smile on your face. We recently polled a few of the SHIFT-ers to see what the best PR advice they have ever received was  – check out their thoughts below!


“Act like a duck…stay calm, cool and collected on the surface (to clients, the media, team members, etc.) even if you’re paddling like crazy under water (i.e., drowning in work load, working with clients, etc.).” – KT McGraw


“‘Be authentic. That’s the only way you’ll sustain any success in this industry.’ – Geoff Livingston, the Principal of Livingston Communications at the time and my first internship. I’ve taken this advice to heart every day of my PR career. Geoff solidified in me that your moral code never needs to go out the window when you’re representing a client.” – Andrew Waber


“The best PR advice I ever received was also some pretty good life advice!  A former boss asked me to send her some information and I did, but neglected to include an upfront recommendation.  My boss started firing back questions until we both got to my own opinion about the information.  She then said ‘That’s what I was looking for!  Remember to take risks.  It’s OK if sometimes you make a mistake, but I want you to tell me what you think about something, what your opinion is, what’s your recommendation.  I’m paying you for your BRAIN, lady.’  To this day I think, my team mates and leads aren’t looking to me to be an administrative robot, they’re looking for my creativity, point of view and expertise – my BRAIN.  It’s something I think about whenever I’m writing a press release, crafting a pitch or taking part in a brainstorm.” – Amanda Guisbond


“PR is not brain surgery. When you get worked up about a deadline or stress about an error, just remember people’s lives in are not in our hands. Hiccups or challenges will work out, or it can wait until tomorrow. Breathe a little easier now.” – Ciri Haugh


“An AE once told me that a subject line should be no longer than eight words, because “it’s a ‘line’ for a reason. No one reads an email if the subject line is a novel.” – Sarah Bergeron


“Think of every way possible to make your client’s life easier. When you start thinking like this, the creativity just follows.” – Mallory Cloutier


“‘Go for it!’ – Sofiya Cabalquinto, at the time Media Relations Manager at the Boston Museum of Science. This was in relation to an admittedly wild idea I had for a promotion for an upcoming black holes exhibit. The result was the creation of a “Black Hole Burger” at the famous Eagle’s Deli in Brighton, MA that simulated the voracious (and eventually slowing) appetite of black holes and an event to debut the concoction. I drove the creation and much of the publicity for the event, which gave me some much appreciated on the ground experience.” – Andrew Waber


“I always come back to… ‘Always SMILE!’” – Erin Albright


What’s the best PR advice you have ever received? Let us know – we would love to hear your thoughts!

6 Responses to “The Best PR Advice I’ve Ever Received”

  1. 1 Ronjini September 29, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Is it cliche to say “It’s PR not ER!” Lol as corny as it sounds, its totally true. PR is a high stress industry, but we should remember we’re here to communicate clearly. As PR pro’s we want to be able to do everything and stretch time to its max, you miss a lot and make mistakes when you do that. We are only human. Do what you do WELL, everything else will work out. Another is “Be Present in everything you do.” It’s not PR related, but VERY applicable.

  2. 2 Catherine Allen September 30, 2011 at 11:20 am

    When I became an AE, the piece of advice I took to heart was: “What’s the hook?” You might have all the facts correct. But if you can’t answer “so what?” or “why would my readers care” or “how does this relate to an end user/consumer/etc” – then your pitch or release will fall flat. Make it come alive!

  3. 3 Annie Perkins September 30, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Actually, I will have to give a shout out to Prof. Donald Fishman at Boston College. He taught me that communication is a two way street. In public relations you need to spend as much (if not more) time receiving messages as you spend sending messages.

  4. 4 Amanda Munroe September 30, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I’ve learned that, sometimes, it’s all about the ink. As long as quality coverage continues to roll in and the team remains proactive with ideas, clients are more than understanding if other areas of the PR program aren’t as wildly successful as media relations (such as award wins) and will take suggestions from the team to make necessary tweaks. Ink, ink, ink!

  5. 5 Maura Landry October 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given (and now regularly tell my team) is to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and keep going. A phone pitch gone awry, a bad client interaction, an error in a client facing document or just a bad week. For the most part, this isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon. So don’t let the little failures get you down – keep your eyes on the prize.

  6. 6 Sarah Alvarez October 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    PR professionals are social by nature, and we are often working on a team. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with your team. Even if you don’t think they’re the greatest, someone else may be able to help develop it into something great. Collaboration is key!

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