Tips for Thriving in a PR Agency

Inspired by NYC PR Girls’ recent post “5 Simple Ways to Excel in PR,” the CCG team shares some tips for how to thrive in an agency setting.

From Doreen Overstreet, VP of Public Relations, 11 years PR agency experience:

  • Provide value to clients. Show results – not just the amount of hours spent or how many memos you drafted. Always ask yourself, “If I were a client, would I pay for our agency’s services?” The answer should always be “yes.” If not, make it right and work on changing your strategy to better serve the client.
  • Check your ego at the door. As my Pilates instructor says, “Your ego is not your amigo.” Learn from your clients, co-workers, colleagues, vendors, etc. – regardless of their age and experience. Everyone brings something to the table. A big ego gets in the way of both professional and business development.
  • Change or die. The only constant in life is change. Agencies are always changing and adapting to what works. If you don’t, you’ll be left behind.
  • You do PR, not ER. Don’t get caught up in overdramatizing issues and thinking that what you do is the most important thing in the world. If you believe you are busier and more stressed out than most people, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Whitney Hopper, Director Northeast Region, 12 years PR agency experience:

  • Think ahead. Try to predict what your manager will ask you to do next – and get started on it. I always say, “manage up.” Meaning, that you should always be one step ahead of your supervisor. Keep track of deadlines, take excellent notes, try to anticipate what they will ask of you and do it before requested.


Summer Walker, Senior Account Executive, 10 years PR agency experience:

  • Consider the source. Fact check. And fact check again. Be prepared to stand by what you do/say/write 100% of the time.


Ashley Blasewitz, Senior Account Executive, 5 years PR agency experience:

  • Be original. Take cues from others’ success, but always adapt to give your event, article or initiative a new edge.
  • Wear your passion on your sleeve. You can run into potential clients, subscribers, “likes,” followers, reporters or donors anywhere. If you love what you do, enthusiasm can be infectious (and persuasive). Talk to people everywhere you go and bring business cards. You never know who you might meet.


Jenni Izzo, Senior Account Supervisor, 4 years PR agency experience:

  • Understand your client from the inside out. Read their trade publications. Use their products. Eat their food (yum!).


Wendy Gustama, Account Coordinator, 1 year PR agency experience:

  • Stay organized. Create a to-do list, and then create a to-do list for that list.
  • Pay attention to when and how journalists respond. If they typically email you around 9 p.m., that may be the best time to pitch an idea. If they always call you, don’t be afraid to conduct follow-ups via phone.


What would you add to the list? Tell us in the comments.

What You Don’t Say Speaks Volumes

We’ve all heard that nonverbal cues make up more than 50 percent of our overall communication. This means that what you don’t say reveals a lot, including clues into your character, emotions, anxiety level, etc. Awareness of body language is a key point in all media training.

Take for instance, body language expert Kevin Hogan’s analysis of Bill Clinton when the former President made the infamous statement, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…” Although Clinton is left-handed, he used his right hand when making the comment. According to Hogan, pointing with the non-dominant hand signals either anxiety or lying. Something so subtle indicated that Clinton’s words were not truthful.

So the next time you watch an interview, identify whether the person is comfortable on camera – and why. Take a look at the interview below of Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal and find out what you can flag.

Wendy Gustama is an account coordinator at Linda Costa Communications Group. She prepares clients with talking points … as well as tips on nonverbal communication.