How to Make it in PR, According to PR Techie Karly Bolton

Karly at a SHIFT work party

Karly at a SHIFT work party

No “typical day” at SHIFT

From the get go, SHIFT Communications account executive Karly Bolton knew she wanted to be in PR. Karly got her break her junior year at the University of Oregon School of Journalism when two ladies working at SHIFT interviewed Karly via Skype. Post graduation, Karly made the move to San Francisco and started her career at SHIFT, an integrated communications agency that works with consumer, technology and media companies.

While SHIFT boasts a variety of consumer, tech and media clients, Karly works solely on the tech team. Karly says no two days are the same, and she loves the fast-paced nature of the tech world. A “typical” day for Karly consists of talking with reporters, pitching on email and the phone, brainstorming with her team, and meeting and staying updated with her clients. Karly also does a lot of coverage monitoring, for both her clients and their competitors. Boring? Not at all, Karly “loves being able to multitask and move quickly.”

Christmas Morning

Karly gushes that the greatest joy of her job is good coverage: “That’s like Christmas morning, when you get a good media placement.” That was a sensation Karly experienced when she recalls working on her favorite project so far at SHIFT; when the agency announced funding for Appirio, a cloud computing startup, which closed over $60 million in funding. According to SHIFT Communications: “Appirio’s investment news ultimately garnered almost 100 articles, including the New York Times, representing a total of about 140 million impressions. Not only did SHIFT’s program drive Appirio’s website traffic to all-time, 5-year high, but it also gained industry kudos at the PR NEWS Awards and the Bulldog Reporter Awards ceremonies.”

For Karly, tech PR is where she wants to be. Even Karly admits that “this is really nerdy.” She is also in the great position of being in San Francisco, the center of the tech craze. Karly boasts that she even walks to see her clients, with one of them being only two blocks away.

Tips for PR Newbies

1. Learn how to research

Karly admits that she wishes she had taken more seriously the projects that were research-based. She says when she started working in PR, research was all she did, and will probably be what new people do, as well. She advises PR students and newcomers to learn how to research. Karly says that being able to read something and come up with a smart analysis of what you read is “huge.” Learn how to sort through various information and find what’s most important. You should also know how to apply the information you just learned.

2. Stay Updated

Karly urges unknowing PR students to “read and know; really understand what the different industries are and what they do. Tech companies are different from consumer tech. If you want to go into tech, you should know what’s happening in tech.” Karly says that staying updated in the world around you is key. Karly stays updated in the tech world by reading “material from her clients, tech blogs, venture beat, and business press.” She also has SHIFT’s library of printed magazines, newspapers and information at her disposal.

Karly’s inside scoop into the world of agency PR is informative and helpful. Hopefully her experience and tips will help anyone trying to make it in the tech, consumer and media PR realm!

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