Three tips to increase your creative PR quotient
Although it’s been a long time, I still remember my first few interviews for different PR positions. When I think back to the questions I was asked, I don’t recall any of them relating to creative PR. There were questions about my writing and proofreading skills, my desire to research media lists and to pitch journalists, market research experience and how many words I could type a minute on a typewriter (okay, I know I just dated myself).
Today is a much different story. Not only will you be asked the “traditional” PR questions, you will be tested on your creative PR skills. The new creative interview questions may look something like this:
What design tools are you familiar with to build presentations, infographics and event invitations?
Are you able to design/develop a blog in Wordpress or on Tumblr?
Give an example of your most creative media pitches using multimedia?
What is a secondary color palette?
And, now for my favorite…what do you think of our creative marketing materials?
These are certainly a different set of questions than what I was asked years ago. With consumer behavior changing, technology advancing and it becoming increasingly more difficult to build a relationship with a company’s customers and other stakeholders, organizations need employees who have a raised creative quotient. You have to be more creative and innovative in your communication to reach and engage with audiences today.
Here are three tips to get you ready for the new creative questions and help you feel more confident in your creative PR knowledge skills:
1. Surround yourself with other creative people. They say that creative people attract other creative people. However, if that’s not your work history or background, then you have to go out of your way to meet people who can fulfill your creative needs. Social networking and joining different communities where people are focused on art, design and creative branding and marketing will help you to learn by association. You'll be able to meet professionals that will share on a creative level that you may not have experienced in some of your past professional circles. You can check out creative groups on LinkedIn, there are regional creative design Meetups, and other advertising and marketing events / conferences.
2. Learn to be a PR TechTester with creative design tools. There is no shortage of creative tools available today. Here are few to research a little further and test, when it comes to your branded communication and developing presentations, infographics, videos, images, etc.
Canva: Graphic design software to help you create designs for Web or print, blog graphics, presentations, posters, invitations, etc.
Unsplash: Download and “do whatever you want” with high-resolution photos.
Picjumbo: Free photos for both commercial & personal works in a number of different categories including animals, architecture, business, fashion, food, nature and technology.
Periscope: An app that allows you to create live video and to “see the world through someone else’s eyes.”
Visme: Design online animations, animated HTML5 banners, and other rich visual content for free in your browser
Piktochart: A design app to create Infographics and reports, producing high-quality graphics, with very little effort.
SlideDog: With SlideDog you can combine media, including PowerPoint, PDF, and Prezi, making your presentations more interactive.
The more you research and test different resources, you’ll be able to incorporate the latest creative tools in your PR toolkit.
3. Take the time to read and learn from new creative resources. There are so many online outlets, if you can’t get to an event or Meetup. Here are a few to consider when you want to be creative in the virtual realm:
- Creative MOOCs
- YouTube (Search for Marketing & Creative Design Videos)
- Alltop.com Design Category
- Subscribe to Webdesign Depot
A career in PR today means strong skills in many areas. However, social media communication adds a whole new dimension to your creative knowledge and skill set. Taking the time to increase your creative PR quotient is one way to stand out among the other interview candidates regardless of the position or your years of experience.
What are your tips for increasing creativity and learning new ways to be creative in PR?
Deirdre Breakenridge is CEO of Pure Performance Communications. She is an international speaker, blogger, Lynda.com video author and an adjunct professor at NYU and UMASS at Amherst. Her most recent book published by FT Press is Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional.
Photo: Wood letters via Shutterstock