PRSSA offers invaluable professional development opportunities geared specifically toward public relations students. Although more than 11,000 students are part of the Society, there are still many students who could find great value in PRSSA but have yet to join.
Here are four key tips to help you pitch PRSSA to potential members. Consider it an opportunity to practice pitching for your future career as a public relations professional.
1. Be straight forward
Make sure you know what you want to say to keep the pitch short, sweet and to the point. Let potential members know that PRSSA will enhance their education, and that it is truly an investment in their future. You can support that statement by talking about the various leadership opportunities, scholarships and awards PRSSA offers. Also mention that they will have the opportunity to add work to their portfolios and take advantage of national resources like the Internship and Job Centers.
2. Figure out what is unique about your Chapter
PRSSA is a national Society organized into 300 plus Chapters in the United States and one in Argentina. When promoting PRSSA membership, mention a special program that will differentiate PRSSA from other organizations on your campus. Whether it is the opportunity to travel for national events, a partnership your Chapter holds with a charity or a renowned speaker you have scheduled, share what you feel makes your Chapter stand out from other opportunities your school offers. Don’t forget to mention career resources and local internship opportunities.
3. Add a personal touch
It is vital to make potential members feel welcome. Sharing a personal story about a positive experience that occurred as a result of your PRSSA membership can excite them. For instance, I learned about my current internship at Marina Maher Communications through networking at one of my Chapter’s events.
4. End with a call to action
End your pitch by stating what they can do next. Let them know how they can join the Society or whom to contact for more information. There are numerous member benefits to discuss. Be sure to review the benefits of PRSSA membership before giving your pitch.
Most of all – be real. Don’t make your pitch sound too canned or rehearsed.Be sure to express your genuine enthusiasm for PRSSA – it will be noticed.
What made you join PRSSA? How do you encourage other students to join?
Joanna Berkowitz is a fourth-year public relations and marketing major at the University of Florida. She currently serves as the U of F PRSSA vice president of member services. After graduation, Berkowitz hopes to work at a public relations agency with a consumer focus.
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Why is PRSSA an advantage for future professionals?
I was recently reading that something like 80 percent of the open positions in this country are not advertised. That means you have to know working professionals who are aware of the opportunities at their company—opportunities that you can take advantage of because you’ll know to whom you need to direct your resume.
Public relations is about relationships. Relationships that will facilitate your job hunt, that will help you deal with on-the-job situations that you may not have encountered previously, that will assist you in developing your career path. Through engaging with PRSSA speakers and attending PRSSA conferences, future professionals gain access to industry leaders who will be able to assist them in their PR career.