Public relations is a fast-paced industry. If you work in this field, you’re likely to wear many hats for your company. You might manage external communications, collaborate with the marketing department or push through internal initiatives. That’s why a PR professional has to be a jack of all trades.
In this article, we’ll take a look at five key skills you need to be successful in PR. Each reflects a different aspect of the role—either day-to-day operations or larger projects and campaigns. Let’s dive in.
Every PR professional needs to be a skilled communicator. After all, that’s the foundation of the role. It’s your job to be the mouthpiece for your company to the staff, community and, most importantly, the media. To effectively share your message, you need to know how to communicate it.
In the digital age, this goes beyond just having conversations with people. You need to be a skilled communicator across a variety of digital platforms as well. Many PR representatives spend most of their day on their emails, corresponding with various audiences. They might also need to have phone call skills and the ability to write press releases or marketing copy.
2. Social media
Another important skill is knowing how to utilize social media for your company. This includes posting regularly, engaging with your audience and growing a following on various platforms. It can be much more difficult than it sounds because managing social media accounts takes lots of time and planning.
Some PR professionals will manage a social media team so they don’t have to do everything themselves. Even then, they’ll still be the final approval on all posts and assist with thinking of and creating campaigns. So they have to be tech-savvy and keep up with recent trends to stay relevant on these fast-moving platforms.
Not everyone considers negotiations training a PR necessity, but we would beg to differ. Many public relations professionals have to learn how to negotiate with media and news outlets to have their press releases published or their company portrayed in a flattering light.
For example, if their company just released a new product that has fierce competition in the market, they might have to negotiate for a favorable spot in a newspaper. Additionally, if they’re running an ad campaign on a tight budget, they might have to negotiate with printers and advertisers for a better price.
Another skill few people recognize as important to the PR field is research. A sizeable chunk of the profession is dedicated to researching clients and competition. These professionals have to know everything about their space and the people sharing it to be successful in their roles.
When researching their competition, they might be looking for information about their position in the marketing, their messaging or the target audience. When looking at their clients, they’re often determining if they’re a good fit for the agency and if they have the budget they need to reach their goals.
Finally, public relations professionals have to be creative. They’ll be managing a variety of creative efforts from ad campaigns to social media stories and they need to have an eye for what grabs attention and matches the company image.
A key aspect of this creativity is staying up to date with trends in the market. The PR professional is tasked with guiding creative teams to create fresh, new assets that also target what people are most interested in at the moment. This is a delicate balancing act that requires both out-of-the-box thinking and a dedication to staying in the mainstream.
Public relations is a key role in any company, but it’s a fast-paced career that requires a variety of skills. If you can master the five listed here, you’ll be on your way to dominating the public relations space and promoting your company across a variety of media channels.