What School Doesn't Teach You About Public Relations

What School Doesnt Teach You About Public Relations blog image

Thousands of public relations and marketing graduates are starting their careers and are ready to use the skills they learned in school. Having been in that position not too long ago, I have learned that there are many skills and situations that school that can prepare you for and there are other lessons you can only learn on the job.


In college, you participate in group projects all the time, working with others to complete a presentation or creative project. Group projects don’t disappear once you leave school – if anything, you’re collaborating with even more people than before. In public relations especially, you are constantly coordinating schedules with journalists and clients, collaborating with your team to execute each campaign, and leaning on peers to provide peer edits and feedback to the projects in process. Teamwork does not stop once you leave school – as I have heard some colleagues say, agency life is like one big group project.

Follow the news

In PR school, you are immersed in the news, constantly reading, writing, and thinking about the events that shape the world and how your clients will fit into the conversation. Engagement with news media doesn’t change once you’re at an agency – but you begin to dive deeper into the specific niches in which your clients operate. A school cannot teach you everything you need to know about your client’s industry, but a school teaches you how to learn about new things, be curious, research new topics, and interact with journalists.

Plan for any outcome

Many students construct PR and marketing campaigns for class projects, simulating what it will be like once they build a campaign for clients. In school and at an agency, you can write out the most detailed plan, but as every PR and marketing professional knows, not everything will go according to plan. You may plan to execute specific projects and goals on the way to work, however, there may be a crisis that disrupts the landscape, such as the SVB crisis, technical hurdles that your clients need to respond to, or an opportunity to news-jack a broader trend in the industry.

PR professionals must prepare for every possible outcome and build flexibility for your campaign. This way, when things aren’t going as planned, you can still deliver results and maintain a positive spin on the situation.

Experience is everything

School is a fantastic setting to learn about the fundamentals of PR, refine writing and communication skills, and connect with esteemed professors with academic perspectives and lived experiences. However, having worked at an agency for some time, the biggest thing I have learned is the value of hands-on experience in PR. At an agency, you learn how to work with clients, from early-stage start-up CEOs to marketing directors at publicly traded companies, and the many different media outlets, journalists, analysts and influencers that dominate the space. Experience is everything, and William Mills Agency has decades of trust, skills and insights to guide your campaign in the right direction.

Looking for the right fintech marketing and PR agency to achieve your communications goals? Contact William Mills Agency today.  ­­­­

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