Faith McKinney is a public relations professional who is the President and CEO of Faith McKinney International LLC. She did not get a degree in PR but organizations come to Faith for consultation to help them develop their personal brands. Throughout her professional career, Faith has conducted numerous media interviews with public figures such as Hollywood Director Lee Daniels, FUBU founder and fashion Guru J. Alexander Martin, Kirk Franklin, Hill Harper, and many more. She has also written a book called Schmingling – The Art of Being Well Connected Through Blatant Self Promotion which highlights her firsthand knowledge of self-promotion and PR strategies that gets one noticed and helps one garner expert status at the same time.
I found Faith through LinkedIn and asked her if I could connect with her to orchestrate an informational interview about her profession. I interviewed her via Skype and I ventured to obtain a PR professional’s experience with the field that I wish to enter. I asked Faith to give me some advice that would help any young person that would like to enter the PR industry and I would like to highlight her key points here.
BUILD YOUR CREDIBILITY AND BECOME KNOWN
Faith stressed the importance of building my credibility through social media. She advised me to take a lot pictures with people who are in the public’s eye. If I take pictures with notables that I meet at different events and post them of my sites and tag them I can expand my social media presence and get known. Faith carries 4 cameras with her wherever she goes, just in case. She said, “You cannot count on your phone to have the best quality images.” The cameras are convenient because you can take a quick snap and go. Going through your phones apps to get to your camera also takes some time. Following up with the notables I take pictures with is of great importance too. If they are in the spotlight of current news then Faith advised me to repost the picture that I took with them. Posting and reposting images of yourself with public figures is a great way to stay current and get you known.
BUILD STRONG RELATIONSHIPS
Another great way to build credibility is to build strong relationships with people. Faith said, “People do not care about what you know until they find out who cares about you.” In other words, it is not what you know or who you know, it is all about who knows you. She said that I should start building relationships with local reporters and journalists. A great way to get experience and build strong relationships is to shadow PR professionals. Faith advised me to get to know people in my area who are already in PR and learn about what they do and help them in any way I can. Building strong relationships with people in certain positions is important because they might just lead you to your next opportunity.
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK
Faith said she has no regrets about the actions she has made even when she thinks she messed up but she does regret things that she did not ask. She recounted a time where she wanted to ask a celebrity to take a picture with her and she built the courage to ask him. Out of all of the times she has asked public figures to take pictures with her she has only been told no once. One needs to build enough confidence and courage in order to not let fear get in the way of one’s actions.
Another question that Faith told me that I should never be afraid to ask is, “What can I do to help you?” She said that I should always approach people with a helping hand and a humble heart. In order for me to get some “street cred” I should help and promote organizations in my area. That will be more experience and more things to add to my portfolio until I can start working for pay.
Faith helped me so much and I am glad I had a conversation with her. It is so easy to use your social media to get connected with people who are in the profession you wish to enter. I gained valuable information from my conversation with Faith and it helped me to realize that PR is the gig for me.
*Faith’s Core Values: Relationships, Authenticity, and Communication.
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