I very accidentally fell into the field of public relations when I lived in Charleston, South Carolina, where I spent six months trying to break into the advertising industry. Along the way, I had three PR internships – and I never looked back. Flash forward to a few years later, when I very accidentally fell into the world of pageants with the Miss America Organization; I’m now in the running to become Miss New York (more on that here). I can honestly say that pageantry and public relations have a lot more overlap than I ever anticipated, including the fact that I never thought I’d be in either. Here are the top three things I’ve learned about PR through pageantry (and vice versa!).
- Don’t be afraid to try another angle. Whether you’re trying to take new headshots or sending out a third round of emails for the same story, switching your angle can yield some seriously magical results. Lower your chin? Winning snapshot. Make a pun based on the product name? Top-tier placement. Whether it’s a photoshoot or a pitch, having fun and being willing to shake things up a little bit will lead to great results.
- Getting good press will open doors for you. This one is definitely obvious for PR (hello, media relations is often the name of the game!) but I think people are often surprised how much PR tactics come in to play in pageantry. Getting your name out there, positioning yourself as a thought leader around certain issues, finding opportunities to give back to the community that tie in to things you’re is passionate about – these are as key for clients in PR as they are for women in pageants.
- What you say matters – and so does how you say it. Many say content is king, especially in the digital age, but it’s still crucial to make sure that you’re presenting your content in the strongest possible way. We live in an image-driven culture - if you have something to say, make sure it’s packaged as well as possible. Customize your pitches, dress well for networking events, change your language to suit your audience at a speaking engagement and speak tactfully and graciously. People will take more notice of what you have to say if you’ve presented it in a way that makes them want to listen.
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