10 tips to become a more successful PR pro

In today’s ultra-competitive PR world you need to find ways to stand out. Following are 10 things that continue to help me become a more successful PR pro. I hope they help you, too.

1. Do your homework

A mass pitch never amasses a lot of coverage. Before you pitch a journalist or blogger, know what they cover. Research their past stories and fine tune your pitch to appeal to their audience.

2. Learn something new

Take a training course. Sign up for a conference. Go back to school. Take an online certification like HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certification. You may find out you know more than you think.

3. Become a better writer.

Practice being a “headline communicator” by learning how to hook your audience with your first five words. Find creative ways to flex your writing muscle. Become a contributing author to an industry publication. Start your own blog or write for your company’s blog.

4. Develop deeper relationships

Remember how powerful and memorable handwritten thank you notes are in today’s online world. Look for new and creative ways to keep yourself top of mind in the eyes of your stakeholders. Don’t forget that relationships are best built face-to-face than over the phone or on a computer.

5. Learn how to better manage the yes

This is a twist on managing the no. Learn how to better manage the expectations of others. Make sure that you set the scope of work and discuss desirable outcomes. Make sure you always under-promise and over-deliver.

6. Prioritize

When you feel overwhelmed by multiple large projects, step back and remember what’s most important to accomplish today. Create a to-do list at the end of every day, so when you come into work the next morning you know what you need to do first.

7. Be more resourceful

If you can’t reach a journalist or blogger over the phone or by email, search for them on Twitter and send them a message. Find creative ways to pitch beyond the standard press release. Seek out the stories journalists are working on by using services like HARO and NewsBasis.

8. Take advantage of social media

More journalists are using social media to find story ideas and sources. Use sites like Muck Rack, MediaOnTwitter, and Journalist Tweets to find out who’s online and how to contact them.

9. Network, network, network.

Join professional PR associations like PRSA or IABC or Ragan. Become a member of your local Social Media Club. Participate in Twitter chats. You never know when a relationship may help you with your current job or finding a future one.

10. Use free PR tools

Read Jeremy Porter’s 13 PR resources you may have overlooked post. There are many tools out there that can help you deliver tremendous value to your brand or client – without spending a dime.

What tips would you add to this list?

This post originally appeared on Spin Sucks.