The 10 characteristics of a successful PR professionalBy Vigilance Chari on August 22nd, 2017 | Reading time: 5 minutes
Public relations is among those industries that have undergone major shifts in recent years. Thanks to modern gadgets, improved connectivity, and social media, working in PR is now as fashionable as ever.
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That said, although many graduates, would-be journalists, and careerists enter the sector each year, not everyone manages to successfully navigate the murky waters and make the most of the possibilities that PR presents. In truth, talented professionals possess several specific qualities of which the average pro is deficient. They know how to fight adversity, seize opportunities, pitch stories, maintain a positive image, cultivate strong media connections and build strategy.
Do you want to be successful in public relations? Read on to find out some of the characteristics that distinguish an accomplished PR pro from an average PR rep.
It’s difficult to come up with a career that demands as much flexibility as public relations. Clients change their plans without notice, and situations arise out of the blue. In social media channels, for instance, one lousy post can bring down the entire ship. To be a good PR pro, you need to have the ability to handle whatever comes your way, in the most efficient way possible.
2. Meticulous learning
Becoming a well-rounded PR person is not a walk in the park. The climb to achieving a consistently reliable and savvy reputation largely depends on your ability and willingness to learn.
Sure, there’s always the pressure for newbies to make an impact, but no entry-level professional gets a new job and immediately starts advising the world’s biggest brands on high-profile issues. The best young PR pros understand that there’s so much to learn from watching co-workers, noting their accomplishments and learning from their mistakes.
3. Collecting information
A PR pro’s day job involves active interaction with the world and the people in it. They must, therefore, stay on top of everything that’s happening, both in and out of their core sector. Successful PR professionals know how to harness information from the news and current affairs and use it to craft ideas that keep them and their clients fresh and updated.
4. Seeing the bigger picture
The end goal of public relations is to put a business or an organization on the right path to success. While getting lost in the social realm of PR is easy, it’s essential not to overlook the role you play in the company’s profitability. Before acting, a good PR pro will stop to think whether the desired result has any contribution to the bigger picture -advancing the business.
5. Building relationships
Relationships are everything in PR. One of the core purposes of the profession is establishing lasting connections with clients and the general public. Success in PR, therefore, inclines on a professional’s ability to maintain rapport and bridge communication chasms by cultivating quality conversations and nurturing personal relationships. As a PR pro working for a brand, you must be responsive, helpful and friendly to every inquirer.
You may survive in public relations by merely establishing strong relationships, but if you wish to make it out of the bullpen one day, start by getting conversant with your products and services. If you’re working for a tech company, for example, make an effort to learn about the latest gadgets on the market, the preferences of customers, and the moves that competitors are making.
A fruitful career in PR requires that a professional maintains a firm grasp of the product they’re promoting because that is what makes them invaluable to clients, journalists, analysts, and everyone else seeking information.
7. Strong writing
Although content development has taken a broader meaning lately, the foundation of public relation is still heavily reliant on the creative articulation of information. Above average writing skills are therefore imperative in PR. With your colleagues and clients asking for anything from finely-crafted press releases to compelling blog posts, you should be able to convey your stories and ideas in the most creative, flawless, succinct, and accurate way.
Strong writing is one thing but, to maintain a positive image, it’s crucial that your reports remain clear and truthful at all times. Always ensure your statements address the situation at hand in the best and most elaborate way, without covering up or sugarcoating anything. Great PR pros are never afraid to speak the truth.
If you cannot provide the answers required in all honesty, consider waiting until you can. This will solidify your reputation as a reliable and steadfast PR professional.
9. Attention to detail
The digital age has placed brands on the edge and under the lens. Today, every step that involves communication to the community and the media requires careful review and planning. When left unchecked, even the smallest error can morph into a full-blown PR disaster.
Desirable PR professionals are those that can pick out the tiny issues and deal with them before they become a problem. While it is not possible to guarantee perfection, especially when you’re new to the job, an avoidable mistake can bring your career tumbling down.
10. Thick skin
Lastly, the PR profession is not for the light-hearted. You’ll get knocked to the mat more times than you can count, and how quickly you can shake if off will determine how quickly you climb up the ranks. As a modern PR pro, you need to learn to withstand criticism and accept the decisions of your clients without taking offense. An excellent professional is never discouraged by critique and rejection. Instead, they embrace and learn from them.
As the public relation scene continues to evolve, new professionals must possess all the cards to have the best chance of winning. While the list above doesn’t present all the requirements of a good PR pro, it is a great point to start your journey.