Each month we have been reaching out to notable communications professionals to ask them a few questions about their experiences and interests, with the goal of providing some insights to others in the industry. For our latest edition of ‘Questions for the PR Industry’ we spoke with Crystal Richard, Director of PR at Onboardly.
Why do you work in PR?
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had dozens of answers to the famous “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question that we’re all asked. These answers ranged from tornado chaser to paleontologist to marine biologist. Of the many dreams and hobbies I’ve had in my life, two personality traits always remained true. I’ve always been a storyteller and I’ve always loved people. Through a series of very fortunate but fateful events, I found myself working in PR (despite a university degree in psychology and business) and it was one of the best curve balls the universe could have ever thrown at me. Every day I get to help companies tell their story and talk to dozens of different people. No two days are the same and this kind of busy lifestyle keeps me on some very happy toes.
What is your guilty media pleasure?
Right now, I’d have to say it’s a tie between Instagram and Snapchat. I was an early adopter of Instagram and it’s been a wild love affair with the app ever since. Snapchat wasn’t such an immediate spark. I first started using it a year ago to snap ridiculous photos to best friends on occasion — check out what my cat’s doing or look how much effort I did not put into my hair today #weekend. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I discovered the power of Snapchat stories for personal branding. I’m also a lifestyle blogger, so Snapchat has given me a unique opportunity to let others get a more intimate look at the day to day activities that put the ‘life’ in lifestyle blog. So far, it’s been a great outlet to promote new posts, share some fun summer moments, and get to know fellow bloggers.
What is one mistake that you’ve made during your career, and what did you learn from it?
When securing media for clients, you must always set expectations. In the world of PR it’s nearly impossible to promise anything with 100% certainty. It doesn’t matter how connected you are with the media – a million factors can keep you from securing coverage. Even after an interview has been conducted, the piece can get cut by editors or spun in a direction less favorable to your client. Expectation setting is key, as is transparency. Be as honest as possible with your clients about what to expect and how your outreach is going. If feedback from journalists isn’t ideal, find a way to respectfully share with your clients so that they’re at least in the loop. The more open you are, the more your clients will appreciate your efforts.
What do you see as the future direction of the industry?
The PR industry is one that has changed so much just in the past four years that I’ve been in it — I can only imagine what the next 1, 5, or 10 years will bring. I do see far less press releases being distributed and far more creative news blasts. Whether it be video announcements or super creative blog posts, I think the old school way of distributing news through the wire will only become more outdated. I also think that while we’re taught to be proactive, instead of reactive, we’ll be forced to find a happy medium very soon. With news happening so quickly and on so many different platforms, it can be hard to plan ahead. We need to be active and engaged at all times so that we can identify opportunities as they happen.
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