Why Partnership Development Is Crucial for New PR Professionals

Vanguard Communications, a minority-owned public relations firm in Washington, DC, recently published a blog post providing six steps for organizations to focus on partnership development. In these six steps, author Shannon Walsh focuses on the need for not-for-profit organizations (whom serve as Vanguard’s primary clientele) to be able to build strategic partnerships with other organizations in a way where their core competencies complement each other. In short, this means that both organizations offer a service or fill a need that the other is missing. Walsh’s six steps include:

  1. Determine your needs
  2. Identify strategic partners
  3. Have an initial outreach
  4. Make a clear and specific “ask”
  5. Follow up, come to an agreement and put it in writing
  6. Nurture the relationship

As a soon-to-be graduate hoping to break further into the PR profession I’ve noticed how easily these steps could also be applied to the types of relationships I, and my fellow classmates at Syracuse University, desire to have with their supervisors. Here’s how Walsh’s six steps could work in an associate-supervisor professional relationship:

  1. Determine your agency’s needs beyond the job description – Agencies (and really all hiring companies) use interviews to screen for the best candidates who fit their culture and get a sense for how they can contribute to their well-being through their skill-sets. So for prospective employees, why not use that same interview process to delve deeper into what the agency is looking for in their next hire?
  2. Make your specific “ask” clear before starting – When starting in a new position there’s always some type of learning curve to help an associate get used to their new environment. During the first few weeks, it’s beneficial to both me as a new associate and my supervisor to set clear expectations and goals for what determines our team’s success.
  3. View your hiring manager as a strategic partner – Agencies select the candidates who are the best strategic fit for their long-term goals. Naturally, this means there’s a level of trust that’s been earned where the working relationship involves two-way communication. Millennial professionals such as myself highly value this give-and-take with our leaders because it allows our opinions to be heard.
  4. Nurturing the work relationship – While having the initial two-way communication with my supervisor is a good start, it’ll ultimately be up to me, or any new professional, to maintain that relationship. While this can be mostly accomplished through my job performance, it’s also up to me to continue to ask questions that give me a better understanding of the agency’s culture and the way it does business.

Agencies who foster a mutually beneficial partnership among their employees also develop an organizational culture that inspires others to want to work there. Ultimately, partnership development isn’t just important for agencies to be able to implement when it comes to finding new clients, but it’s also important for them in order to maintain their relationships with the associates who make the agency tick.

PR’s Golden Rules: Traits for Professionals to Live By

From: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/01/11/has-gold/
From: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/01/11/has-gold/
Have you ever noticed how everything has rules?  Yes, everything from the United States Constitution to your mom’s household has a defined set of guidelines, principles and procedures that must be met in order to avoid facing consequences.  However, the rules of public relations aren’t exactly set in stone, as I learned in professor Bill Jasso’s class last night. Sure, the Public Relations Society of America has its own “credo” for members to follow; but so does the International Association for Business Communicators and the dozens of other PR-related professional associations around the world.  With each of these conflicting views, it’s no wonder why PR isn’t taken as seriously as a profession worthy of respect.  After all, the scope of PR work is so broadly defined, how could any one be allowed to determine who is and who isn’t a PR professional?

One thing that’s for certain though is that PR professionals are not only defined by the skills that they have, but also by the way they carry themselves within their profession.  Here are three important traits (or “rules”) I think are important for PR professionals to have:

  1. Accountability – PR professionals must own the work that they do for their clients and be held responsible if or when their plan doesn’t go exactly according to plan
  2. Honesty – As much as possible, PR professionals need to be forthcoming when they’re communicating on behalf of their clients in order to earn their publics’ trust
  3. Impartiality – While PR professionals exist to serve as advocates, they must remain fair when dealing with their audience to ensure a two-way communication

When it’s all said and done, PR professionals should keep this quote from John Kultgen in mind throughout their careers:

“If I have done my job well for the right purpose, my life has substance and meaning. If I have done my job poorly or for the wrong purpose, I have squandered my life, however much I have prospered.”

I believe if we all can do this, PR will gain acceptance as a profession worthy of true respect.