storytelling PR Beck Bamberger

In our Content Marketing Masters interview series, we’re profiling the smart marketers we get to work with every day. We’re asking Rep Cap’s favorite marketers how they got into the field, what they love about their jobs, and how they stay smart.

Meet Beck Bamberger. She’s the founder of Bam Communications, and I met her through the Young Entrepreneurs Council, my favorite community organization for young business owners. Public relations can still play a powerful role in a successful marketing strategy, and I appreciate her smart, ethical, no-nonsense approach to the craft.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Getting a great story told. It’s exciting when you have this client, and they’re doing something really revolutionary or doing great for the world, and you get it in the Wall Street Journal, on CNN, in Tech Crunch. A lot of my staff members would say the same thing.

In addition, I get to speak all the time to the founders and directors of communications at companies who do these wonderful things. I love that.

What advice do you have for PR pros who are just starting out?

Get an internship. We just recently went to a PR event, and four of my employees attended — they were all former interns that we went on to hire. Getting an internship is not only a good ticket to employment, but also a phenomenal experience. It gives you a chance to see if you’re interested in the industry or the job.

Employers love having interns, too — they can determine your values, work ethic, results you get, whether you’re quick to learn. And they like molding employees who don’t have preconceptions as well.

If you’re looking for an internship, you’ll need to ask, specifically, what your day is going to look like. Get an overview of what other interns’ days look like, so you can find out whether you’re actively pitching people and sitting in client meetings, really getting in the trenches, or if you’re making copies and getting coffee. (Of course, at our office, everyone gets coffee and takes out the trash — everyone.)

Finally, there’s all this commentary and conversation about the future of Artificial Intelligence and automation. Yes, it’s happening. But PR is not going anywhere in terms of being replaced by AI anytime soon. Further, storytelling has been around for millennia. In a global age and marketplace, it’s needed even more. The level of intellect, persuasion and creativity needed for it is something that AI might take over in a few hundred years, but not in the next few decades. If you want to be in something that will stick around, pick PR.

Where do you go for inspiration?

My first call is to my business coach, Aaron Keith. I’ve worked with him for years — he’s a great savant and coach. I also read about three or four books a month. I’m a big fan of Adam Grant’s Originals. I don’t listen to podcasts around PR, but I do listen to things that have great storytelling, such as Serial or The Moth. Storytelling is so primal.

Have you had any mentors who’ve helped you learn about PR or business?

In terms of PR, I really learned a lot from Beth Binger. She threw me to the wolves, which really was the best thing. I was 23 and she gave me six accounts, saying, “You’re smart, you’ve got it,” and then she went on vacation. I’m a big fan of dump-in-the-deep-end; that was a robust experience.

A group I love is the Gen Next Forum, where you can meet up and process issues — it’s a little like group therapy. There are plenty of people there who have sold or IPO’d businesses; they have all kinds of great advice.