By: Allison McDonald
Freelance work is tough, no matter what industry you are in. It requires dedication, motivation, and flexibility. You must be a self-starter. Someone in freelance must be organized and excellent with time, missing a deadline isn’t possible. Fortunately, the PR super stars of Scripps PRSSA are born with these traits. One being Sienna Tomko, ImPRessions VP of Operations! Sienna already has a more than impressive resume, but her work in freelance PR with CMP Communications makes her star shine even brighter.
Freelance PR is not an easy task to accomplish. It’s basically doing public relations work from the comfort of your own home, or where ever you may be. Sienna describes it as, “Public relations work done on your own time and based on your schedule. It’s the flexibility to conduct work in the field on a project-to-project basis from a remote location, if need be.”
Like all public relations jobs your day-to-day routine is never the same. This applies for freelance work was well. After six years of working with CMP Communications Sienna schedules and tasks have evolved with her, “My job description has changed and keeps changing every day. I’ve done everything from press releases to pitching, interviews to design work, as well as photography and video editing. The work I do depends on the client, the timing and my availability while taking classes at Ohio University.”
To be a star at freelance work your Smartphone and email need to become your best friend. Email is how you and your boss communicate. “I conduct most, if not all, of my work via email and phone, yet I meet face to face with clients when I’m home in the Cleveland area. My boss will email me projects and deadlines and then it’s up to me to complete them. I aim to be flexible and willing to take on any new project or campaign.”
This type of work is solely based off of your own time, dedication and commitment. There’s no one there telling you to do your work, or reminding you of deadlines. Balancing your class work, extracurricular activities and freelance work can become overwhelming. “The only challenge I’ve faced during my 5+ years working with Charlene would have to be at the crossroads of both of my schedules. I never know what projects she may have for me until I receive an email.”
The trick is to know your limits, and don’t take on more than you can handle. Know it is okay to turn down projects you don’t have time for. You only want your best work out there, and if you don’t have time to give your best, it’s better to turn it down.
Taking on freelance work is a great way to get that real-life experience that is crucial to have after graduation. Sienna explains what she’s gained from her experiences, “I’ve gained a ton of knowledge and insight into the agency lifestyle. My boss, Charlene Paparizos, has done an amazing job teaching me the in’s and out’s of public relations. I’ve learned how to work in niche markets, specifically education and engineering, as well as how to interact and build relationships with the client(s) and with the media.
Get started now and look for great opportunities to dip your toes it the water of PR! They are all around you; you just have to look for them. “Reach out to local or hometown agencies. Every one is in need of an extra hand or assistance with a project,” said Tomko.
Any experience you can get is great! Never underestimate the power of freelance PR or a virtual internship. Just keep in mind you might not get paid right away for your hard work, but we all know that one day it will pay off!