Completing the Public Relations Bucket List

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Courtesy of Paige Weber

Like many students around the nation right now, I can’t believe I’m in my last semester of college. Time sure does fly, but I honestly didn’t feel the clock ticking until I became an active member of PRSSA. As a PRSSA member, I started to learn the things that I will take with me into the real world. While I still have a long way to go, PRSSA provided me with opportunities to expand my knowledge and add a fair share of points to my résumé.

Being a senior has made me realize how proactive I have to be about accomplishing everything I hoped to in my short years in school. Consequently, I have put together a bucket list of the skills public relations students should learn before graduating college:

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • Compose a comprehensive editorial calendar on Microsoft Excel.
  • Learn at least one management platform (Hootsuite, TweetDeck, etc.).
  • Take part in at least one Twitter chat. (Hint: Begin with PRSSA’s next one.)
  • Learn to read Facebook and Twitter analytics.
  • Bonus if you learn to manage Facebook and/or Google ads.

MEDIA RELATIONS

  • Write and send at least one press release to local media. You can even write one for Chapter News.
  • Afterwards, write a pitch email to complement the press release.
  • Build a media list (bonus if you learn programs such as Gorkana and Cision).

DESIGN/WRITING

  • Conquer the basics of Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. Create a graphic to accompany your social media posts and design a flier for an event.
  • Prove your AP style and PRSSA Style Guide knowledge by writing an article for Progressions and/or FORUM.

MISC.

  • Work on any sort of event planning: a party, Chapter event, fundraiser, showcase, etc. (bonus if you get sponsorship, registration, speaker outreach, etc. involved).
  • Know how to research. Do a proper SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis for your dream client.
  • Basic HTML knowledge: Learn to make small changes such as changing fonts and colors from the back end.

So much to do, so little time! Obviously there are many more skills I can add to this list. What is at the top of your public relations bucket list?

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Paige Weber is the PRSSA 2014–2015 vice president of Chapter development and a senior at Louisiana State University. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn

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3 Responses to Completing the Public Relations Bucket List

  1. Dea Pennington December 28, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

    Great read. I’d add having strong public speaking and presentation skills to my bucket list. Nothing is more important than being able to confidently and concisely communicate your ideas to not only your employer, but to your clients!

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    Paige Weber Reply:

    Dea — Great addition. I agree! There are so many skills we can gain before leaving school, and I feel like being able to confidently communicate with your employer and client is something student-run firms especially help with.

    [Reply]

  2. Jordan Paquet January 3, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    Fantastic! I agree with the need to learn some HTML coding. Many times it’s not offered within PR classes, but it’s so important in the realm of public relations. I’d add subscribing to a daily national news source (WSJ, NYT, etc). Recognizing what’s happening around the globe in multiple fields can benefit us in PR. Even if you may have never studied a specific brand mentioned in a story, you may have a client later on in your career that you were first introduced to when they were covered this time.

    Learning a little bit about a lot of things is always great!

    [Reply]

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