How Public Relations Professionals Can Say “No”

There is no need to take on an assignment that will not benefit your organization or company, let alone the company or organization that is seeking to hire you. Public relations involves adhering to ethics and this includes only taking on tasks that you know have the potential for success, not tasks that don’t have the potential for success. Don’t worry about this reflecting negatively on your capabilities or skill set, it won’t.

When to Say “No”

Say "no" before taking on a project. If you agree to take on an assignment, take it on. You're giving the client the “green light,” meaning you're opening the door for them to depend on you. It’s your responsibility to research a company or cause before taking on the responsibility of doing their public relations.

Say "no" if you feel a product or cause is out of your scope. If your company or agency specializes in a specific market, it may be wise to stick to the market it's known for. An exception would be a project that you feel is one of a kind project that won't be a major conflict of interest.

Say "no" if you don’t feel you can meet the deadline. There are companies that rush to find an agency or public relations specialist to take on projects that haven't even been started. Even if you believe in miracles, the chances of meeting a given deadline may be far and in-between. Offer an alternative deadline or give a list of what can be done by the deadline before turning down a request.

How to Say “No”

Lead with a "thank you." If you are chosen to lead a company in their marketing efforts, they obviously feel that you are capable of helping them increase their visibility, credibility, and valuation. Acknowledge that your hard work has been acknowledged.

Let the company know why you can’t meet their needs. Whether it be a deadline, conflict of interest, or something that is outside of the scope of what you would normally do, be honest about the reasons why you're turning down an assignment.

Recommend other resources for getting the job accomplished. There will come a time when you will be "booked up," or something will be out of your scope of work. Provide recommendations to people, agencies, or companies who can perform certain job functions.

For more ways to say "no" click here

Historian: Charonda Edwards



If I had any advice to give PR students at UVU, it would be the things that I did not do while during my time in the PR program.

Regret 1: Take the Wolverine Student PR Firm class.

      I had no idea that there was an actual student-ran PR firm that anyone can take, until about two weeks ago. This is a three-credit-class where students are doing real campaigns with real clients, all led by a PR industry professional and other advisors. Students work all semester on different campaigns for different clients. This provides students with real-world experience before they even graduate. It gives them a head-start on their career and looks great on a resume. Fees paid by clients all go to the UVU Public Relations program to help fund professional development activities for students. Any student in the PR program is allowed to take this class, and I advise all to do so before they graduate. It pays to have a leg-up on other recent graduates applying for the same job as you.

Click here to get more information on the Wolverine Student PR Firm.

Regret 2: Join PRSSA sooner than later.

I waited too long to join PRSSA. I attended the events {sometimes} but never fully engaged in the program. I was intimidated by the $60 registration fee and wasn't sure if it would REALLY help me further my education and career. Man, was I wrong. Joining PRSSA, and especially getting involved with the presidency, has taught me so much about how to be a better PR professional for when I graduate. There are amazing opportunities I have had (like going to Washington, DC for the National Conference) that I would not have the chance to otherwise. JOIN PRSSA. 

Click here to join PRSSA.

Regret 3: Intern-- more than once. 

I was one of those students who had heard a million times "you need to do multiple internships while in college" and sort of brushed it to the side. I always intended on getting more internships, but then schedules got busy, things got pushed to the side, and the excuses stacked up. I was able to do one internship, but it wasn't really even in my field of study. Now being in my last semester, I feel as though I have been scrambling to find an internship for this semester, but with my already jam-packed schedule it has been nearly impossible to find even 10 hours a week of free time. Internships are the way to learn real skills in the work place. Plus, more often then not an internship can turn into a job. And who doesn't want a job after they graduate?

Click here to find internships that are available to you.


By Haley Zarbock



It's important to be creative, that's one thing that I've heard a lot at school. How will we stick out from the crowd? What makes us different from everyone else?

When it comes to public relations and marketing, this is especially true. Competition is out there and creativity can set you apart, above and beyond.

Guerrilla marketing has been around for a while and simply put, it is an inexpensive, and creative way to do marketing. Whether you know it or not, you've seen some examples. Be it sidewalk chalk for a local concert, or a viral video created by a major brand, guerrilla marketing is out there. 

Here are several examples that you may have seen online within the last six months (or in person if you were lucky enough). As you watch these, I challenge you to write down some ideas that come to your mind for future reference as you go back to school or work. The time will come that these will come in handy.  Enjoy!

DHL - Trojan Mailing - Why not let the competition do your advertising?

HUVR - Belief - I understand this was a fake product, but it was a unique way to advertise the product and garnered over 13 million views on YouTube and lots of traffic to their site.

Doritos & Xbox One - Bold Exit - What would you do if you stumbled upon this challenge?

Pepsi MAX & Jeff Gordon - Test Drive 2 - Maybe you saw last year's "Test Drive" or some of the "Uncle Drew" videos done by Pepsi MAX. Their marketing team is genius, would you agree?

Devil's Due - Devil Baby Attack - For a movie that didn't do so hot in theaters, this video went viral with over 44 million views. Pretty good for a movie that brought in only $15 million.

The Grammy's - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Unleash NYC - Here's one you may not have seen but millions of others have. Whether you watched the Grammy's or not, you know these bus riders will remember this moment for the rest of their life.

Now would you rather spend thousands of dollars on a traditional billboard or draw the attention of everyone around with something totally unique?

If you have any other examples, feel free to share them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

- Meagan Piiparinen