“Learn to network.”
Lorrie Walker, a public relations professional and the owner of Lorrie Walker Communications, couldn’t stress this point enough; and I couldn’t agreemore. With an ARMY background of training in journalism and public affairs and a Bachelor of Science degree in business and professional leadership from Southeastern University, Walker certainly has credentials that speak for themselves.
After conducting a phone interview with her (I found her information on the internet), I discovered a laundry-list of PR essentials.
First things first, what’s a typical week like? Walker went on to explain that the balk of her time was spent writing articles and press releases while marketing for companies via the internet. In previewing her website, I found my mind begging this question: “How does one gather all this information, and in such a short amount of time?”
Walker went on to explain that she has two additional clients who do subcontract work for her. With these workers supplementing the company, it is assumed some type of relief is provided for the owner.
The conversation then shifted to a specific project Walker undertook.
“I am a people person. I love to network.” she said enthusiastically.
With this statement, Walker jumped right into the details of the project. Basically, she wanted to create more traffic for a company; specifically for her hairstylist. And that she did!
She created a website for her patron, promoting his services and a charity cut-a-thon. This allowed for a better generation of business while endorsing a good cause. The first Hair for Hope was held in 2009, and has continued annually ever since.
Such success proves Walker’s ability to network. Something simple as getting your haircut opens the door to future business opportunities. So start shaking hands and kissing babies!
The discussion moved to the topic of current events. How does one remain updated in the PR industry? Walker simply checked off the social media network outlets: twitter, facebook, blogs. Without the use of these instantaneous networks, one can forget about being informed. To get ahead of the game, one must remain in the game. Unfortunately, newspaper releases are yesterday’s business. The ability to navigate these internet resources will only increase one’s knowledge. So for all the pious print-lovers (myself included), set down the paper, at least for a little while, and see how much news you can gather from the internet in three minutes.
Walker was then asked about her PR knowledge prior to her career. Was there something she wished she had known before delving into this business?
“I can’t think of anything only because the internet came about while I was working [in the industry]. It was not ‘Oh I wish I had learned to use the internet.’”
Internet is essentially one of the foundational building blocks for the PR industry today. Because Public Relations is a relatively growing trend amongst the younger sector (although it began several centuries ago), having a background in internet usage is almost expected.
The conversation was wrapped up with two final questions. The first inquired about the importance of writing.
“[Writing is] monumental. You can’t be a good PR practitioner if you can’t write well,” stated Walker.
She then went on to propose that one should invest in an AP stylebook which proves to be a great reference for writers.
The final question asked Walker to provide three tips for a new PR practitioner. As mentioned earlier, networking is key. She merged tips one and three to networking. She also referenced the importance of writing and reading.
“To be a good writer, you need to read some good writing.”
PS- Music for you!