How to build your professional PR network in 6 easy steps

How to build your professional PR network in 6 easy steps

Even the best PR professionals can’t do it all.

Whether your workload is packed to the brim, you need to bounce an idea off a colleague or a client requested a service you don’t specialize in, sooner or later you’re going to need some help.When that time comes, it’s important to have a list of previously vetted PR professionals so you know who to call when you need help.

Whether you’re a PR newbie or a veteran,  it’s important to know how to build your professional PR network.

Why you need a professional PR network

Why do you need a PR professional network? Easy!

It’s going to happen at some point...an existing client comes to you with a request that is outside of your expertise. They’re a good client, so you want to help them as best as you can, but you know you can’t do it on your own.

If you’ve already developed a professional PR network, you’ll be able to refer your client to the best person for the job, making you look better and more resourceful.

Or, you’re completely overwhelmed by a client situation, and need advice from someone who gets it. If you have a solid network, you have a trusted group of individuals to chat with.

How to build a professional PR network

So you know you need a professional PR network, but how can you build one? Try these six simple strategies.

1. Attend networking events and conferences

Just like networking events can be a great place to meet potential new clients, they also offer you a pool of eager PR pros to add to your contacts list.

Seek out relevant industry events and conferences in your city (or beyond!) for professional development and networking.

2. Check LinkedIn

Chances are you already have a slew of former colleagues and peers at the ready in your LinkedIn network.

Check up on old friends or use the platform’s professional services marketplace, ProFinder, to hunt for talent.

3. Take to Twitter

Have you noticed anyone liking and replying to your professionally-geared tweets lately?

Are there PR pros you follow on the platform because they share a mix of great thought leadership content and #clientlove posts?

Your favorite place to catch up on industry trends and news may also be a great spot to build your professional PR network.

4. Join a professional association or group

Professional associations like PRSA are a fantastic place to meet PR pros both nationally, and in your own backyard.

Similarly, consider searching for groups in your city -- for example, in Philadelphia where I live we have the Philadelphia Public Relations Association, and there are similar groups all over the country.

If you own your own PR business, Solo PR Pros (I’m a member!) is a wonderful group of likeminded professionals.

5. Get to know journalists

Obviously, a major part of our jobs as PR professionals is connecting with the media, so naturally, you’ll want journalists to be part of your professional network, too.

But be sure to do your homework! You can get to know journalists better by reviewing their Muck Rack profile, reading their stories and following them on Twitter.  

6. Network within your company

The agency or company you work at currently is another excellent (and often under-utilized) place to build your professional PR network.
Consider inviting a colleague you don’t know very well yet for coffee or gather a small group for lunch to get to know one another better.

Your future success is only as strong as your network -- be sure to take time each week to meet new people and further your PR career.

Did we miss anything? What would you tell someone trying to build their professional PR network? Tweet us your tips!

Curious to learn more about how Muck Rack can help you improve your public relations success? We’d love to tell you more.

Jessica Lawlor is the features editor for the Muck Rack blog and handles PR and social media for Muck Rack.

*Photo via Pixabay

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