John Richardson’s tips for PR

John Richardson spoke in our class on Friday about his experience in the field of public relations.  He is labeled as an interactive director in the journalism world.  Here are a few takeaways from his presentation:

  • An interactive director is someone who is managing people or projects and is also in charge of any digital media that creates a form of communication.
  • John Richardson stressed the importance of staying on top of trends.  Trends of new social media, as well as remaining grounded in traditional PR are both important to keep in mind while working in public relations.
  • The name of the game is: AWARENESS.  Being aware of news quickly, reacting effectively, and remaining aware of changes throughout social media and the Internet are all extremely important.

John Richardson Speaks on PR

John Richardson came to Principles of Public Relations, and spoke of his experiences in the field. The highlights of his time in the classroom were the following:

  • An Interactive Director is in charge of any kind of digital media that creates communication. You cannot really be in the competition of public relations without being interactive with social media. Also, you must know how to work well with others.
  • Staying on top of trends is one of the most important aspects of his job. PR agencies focus on agencies, and have control over social media, crisis control, and traditional PR.
  • The key to success is doing the coolest thing that no one has done it. And most importantly–doing it first.
  • Freelancing can be hard in that you must farm your own customer and following. Managing your own time is one of the hards parts. People move around in the business often. You must be OK with that and learn how to deal with change.

John Richardson Gives Advice

John Richardson visited the Principles of PR class last Friday and shared some useful tips for our future careers in the communications field. He said that there are three things that he does everyday no matter what is going on. He strategizes, researches and does content development. He said that we need to become very comfortable with writing, because it is something we will have to do every day. I didn’t realize how much writing is involved in communications work even if you’re not in the print track of Journalism.

He also mentioned how important it is to be able to work well with other people. Public relations is all about communication, and you have to be able to communicate and work with other people in order to be successful in this field. Richardson also talked about the importance of staying on top of what is happening in the social media world. There are constantly new and better things coming out in the social media outlets, and you can’t be successful in PR if you are not a part of them or if you do not understand them fully. Awareness is the most important part of PR and advertising.

I did not realize how much turnover there is in the communications career. Richardson talked about being prepared to move around a lot and change positions in this field in order to stay relevant. It is important to be flexible in this career track and be able to adjust to changes.

Richardson’s final words to the class were to always remember to be humane, human and humble. These things will help create a successful career and life.

Tips from John Richardson

I was sick and absent from class last Friday, but from reading other posts, I learned:

You should be ready and willing for change in the communications field. People often move from job to job because of the constant change happening within the business. However, all the experience in different jobs helps further your career.

Portfolios are vital in communications. A strong one can land you freelance work, which is a great way to work on your own time while still making money. However, independent contract work requires good time management skills.

Communications is a creative industry; therefore, you should use your creativity when applying for jobs as well. The creativity will make you stand out and help attain your dream job.

Write. And write frequently. It doesn’t matter what it is for, you just need to become comfortable with it. Writing is a required skill in the industry, yet, not everyone has the natural ability to write well.

Takeaways from John Richardson

  • Freelance is a great way to work less hours, but still make money. To be successful as a freelancer, however, you need to build up a strong portfolio first to bring in clients. Freelance also requires that you have a lot of motivation and know how to manage your time well.
  • In the communications business, there’s a lot of turn over. People move from job to job frequently. Expect to do the same because it helps you further your career.
  • This is a creative industry, so be creative with how you get the attention of potential employers.
  • Get comfortable with writing. Write often even if it’s in an unpublished personal blog.


Peritus is a communications firm that specializes in Public Affairs, Public Relations, Marketing and Creative Services. Peritus is a Latin word that means “experience; skilled; expert.” Peritus has agencies in Lexington, KY, Nashville, TN, Indianapolis, IN, Columbus, OH, Birmingham, AL, and Oak Ridge,TN. I got to speak with the office in Nashville.

They have an internship program that allows the intern to get invaluable hands-on work experience. They offer their most talented interns positions with the Peritus firm. They offer internships during the summer, spring and fall. Their internships are also paid. It’s an excellent opportunity to gain experience in the field of PR.

I got to speak with Paula Jones who is currently an intern with the Nashville office. When I spoke to her she was on her way to Georgia to work on a project for them. The project is called the Coalition for Sugar Reform Project. She was trying to get ten letters signed  by bakery shops and candy shops. She had gotten one signature so far when I spoke with her. She is currently working on three projects and she said that she never has a “normal” day and that’s what she loves about working in Public Relations. She said the one thing that she does do every day is communicate.

I felt it was very beneficial for me to talk to Paula and get a better understanding of what she does. It helped me to see how much is involved on an average day in PR.