To be great at public relations, you need to be skilled in very diverse areas. Critical thinking, storytelling, communicating and connection with people are all important skills to have. Skills like writing and networking come into play too though, so what should you focus on to get better at PR?
Practice your creative writing
Start by working on your writing skills. Writing, from press releases to pitches, is essential to your work in the public relations field. Taking a writing class can really help, and it doesn’t even need to be a traditional business writing class. A creative writing class can help you with finding your unique voice, breaking up the structure of your pitches and thinking creatively.
If you’re looking for new ways to practice your writing on a regular basis outside of your work, try starting a blog. Write about something you love and share it to try to attract followers. This will help you with your writing skills and your networking skills.
Practice strategic thinking
Thinking creatively is an important skill to have as a PR agent as well. One of the most enchanting things about the PR industry is that each situation is different, so you’ll need to be able to apply different approaches as you work. If creative writing doesn’t do it for you, try playing games like murder mysteries or escape rooms. These will help train your brain to think strategically and come at problems from different angles.
Become a better salesperson
Aside from creativity, you’ll also need to work on your sales approach. Though PR isn’t hard sales, a good PR person has the same skills as a salesperson. It’s true, the best in the PR business could sell solar panels in the winter.
Since sales is an industry that is very people-oriented, try putting yourself out there at networking events and getting to know others. Odds are that if you went into PR, networking doesn’t make you nervous, but really focus on becoming a person who can make friends with anyone. If you don’t feel comfortable in social situations, practice with them. Try approaching different people at networking events and see what approach works and what doesn’t. When you’re analytical about your approach, it will seem more like a game and make you less nervous.
Practice public speaking
Even if you’ve already mastered networking and relationship-building, public speaking is always a skill worth working on. Look for opportunities to speak publicly, whether on a panel or at a conference. Reach out to local and nonprofit organizations and offer to teach a class.
Many public libraries are often looking for experts in differentiated fields to give talks about how to learn a skill or be successful in various industries. Though many can only offer a small honorarium, these opportunities will give you a chance to practice your public speaking skills while giving back to your community. Plus, thinking about the skills needed to be good in PR and creating a presentation centered around teaching others those skills, may help you improve your skills in those areas.
Learn social media
Social media is another way to reach out and look for speaking opportunities, as well as being another important area for you to make sure you have strong skills in. If you feel weak on a certain social media platform, make yourself an account on that platform and practice your skills there. Learn the ins and outs of posting pictures and videos. Practice properly utilizing hashtags. Social media is such a big part of brand image, being an expert on numerous platforms will go a long way.
Learn from the experts
Finally, when in doubt, learn from the PR experts. Learning from the masters can only benefit you. Read or listen to biographies on PR agents or find a podcast about PR that you enjoy. Figure out why these experts are good and hone those skills yourself.
With a little time and practice, you’ll be able to master skills like communication and writing that make PR agents great.