Diana Bassett Public Relations founder and president Diana Bassett tells Doug Simon that networking is one of the key strategies for getting a career in communications off the ground.
"My theory for everyone is go out, talk to people, do things," she says, "because you never know who you're going to meet and that can change the entire course of your life."
Bassett says that she knew it was time to start her own company after dealing with firms that kept putting her on hold during the early days of the pandemic. However, she had to balance the need to get involved with the contingencies of the work-from-home world.
"I was like, I need to do something from home. And they really weren't any charities that I could work with. So, I was like, what am I good at? I'm good at PR. So, that's what I started doing."
She helped one client, a waxing salon in Minnesota that had closed its doors soon after the pandemic hit, develop their social media presence. In addition, she helped them connect with fashion, retail and lifestyle influencers in the state who could help the salon get back on its feet once it repoened.
That experience showed her how much she liked workoing for herself. "I felt I was a better publicist" when she was working on her own, she says.
Bassett stresses the importance of mentoring younger people. She tells Simon about the owner of the first PR company she worked with, who would "sit with me at the desk and let me watch her do her phone calls, watch her send emails, and then within a week she sent me off to do it myself... I want to be able to give that back to the next generation of PR professionals."
She also says that while internship programs have a large role to play, she has little interest in just giving people busy work. Internships, she says, should offer real-life job experience for PR novices "without being scared and fear of screwing up and getting fired on your first day because you've never done it."
Another key piece of advice for people getting started in communications: "Lean into it. I mean, there are going to be really scary days. You have no idea what you're doing. You're thinking, oh my god, why did I think I could do this? The imposter syndrome is going to hit you so hard, but keep going because everyone feels that way."
Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]