If not, no need to worry – many of these abilities can be learned with time and dedication. Read on to find out the important skills you will need to be successful in the PR industry.
If you currently work in public relations or are looking to work in public relations, chances are you majored in communications in college. In the PR industry, strategic communication (both written and verbal) is at the core of what you’d be doing on a day-to-day basis whether with clients, coworkers, or the media. Your job is to successfully relay, or communicate, your client’s story to the public in a captivating way through press releases, pitches, and more. Overall, the result of your communications will not rely on what you have to say but will depend on how you get the message across. Take a moment to think about how many articles you’ve clicked on simply because of how the title was worded. What was it that caught your attention?
A few specific communication skills to home in on when it comes to professional development are relationship building and public speaking skills. While both capabilities are great tools to have in almost any career, they are especially important in the PR industry as these skills will help you build credibility and trust with your client and the media.
While it is easy to confuse marketing and public relations for the same job, the main difference between the two is that marketing has the main end goal of promoting sales, while public relations is focused on the company and their reputation. With that being said, whether you are working in PR or marketing, it is important to have knowledge of both industries. Specifically, in the public relations industry, it is vital to know about digital marketing. As more and more social media platforms are created and expanded on, digital communication has become an invaluable asset to utilize when it comes to amplifying your message, communicating and building relationships with customers, and reaching new audiences with PR campaigns.
In a PR agency, working as a cohesive team plays a key role in successful campaigns. The major benefit of working together with a variety of people with different backgrounds and experiences is that everyone has unique perspectives to bring to the table. This helps to foster creativity and to differentiate all the work that you are presenting to clients. Working successfully in a team also helps to spread the love and alleviate pressures that come with work in a fast-paced environment filled with timely deadlines. It is important to remember as a PR pro that while your individual work is important, you have a team to lean on!
Attention to Detail
Another skill that is important to have or to grow as a public relations professional is attention to detail. This skill is going to come in handy in almost all aspects of the job description – from media list building, writing press releases, pitching under embargo, and more. For example, when making a media list for a product or company announcement, it is important to be extra aware of which journalists you are targeting in your list. To maintain positive media relationships, it is necessary to only include people on your media lists who would be interested in the news. Remember, journalists receive hundreds of emails a day, so if your pitch is irrelevant to them, chances are high that they won’t read it. On top of your pitch not being read, if you consistently fill journalists’ inboxes trying to get media coverage, you may overwhelm journalists and soil your relationships with the media outlet for the future.
As we discussed earlier, written and verbal communication is at the core of public relations. So, let’s dive more into the written aspect of PR. When going through the interview process for a public relations job, many companies will have you complete a writing test and/or provide a writing sample to prove your proficiency in this skill. This is because you will be responsible for effectively developing unique messaging that will persuade journalists and customers alike of why your client’s product or service is “all the rage.” The way you create messaging will vary depending on the target audience and the brand’s tone of voice. A few pieces of content you may be writing as a PR specialist include:
- Press Releases
- Social Media Captions
- Leadership Quotes
- Media Kits
Last but not least on our list is organizational skills. Whether working in a public relations agency or in-house, you will be juggling multiple tasks at a time. Organizational skills will come in handy whether you are working on a long-term campaign, handling multiple announcements at a time, or even with day-to-day time and task management. Pro Tip: To stay on top of deadlines, try writing them down! I personally like to keep an agenda of all my tasks and cross the list off as I go. Another great way to stay organized is to block off time on your calendar to work on a certain task. For example, let’s say you have a news scan due to your client at the end of every week. Try creating a weekly event on your calendar every Friday blocking off about 30 minutes for this task.
In this blog, we have discussed the important skills one must conquer to succeed in public relations from communication, marketing, and teamwork to attention to detail, writing, and organization. So, which skills will you be adding to your public relations resume?