Being a great PR professional means more than being ‘a good writer’ or ‘good with people’. It’s all about the ability to transfer these skills under pressure, and read a situation in terms of both managing clients and spotting PR opportunities.
Whether you are thinking about a career in public relations or looking to progress in an existing role, here’s our top five essential skills of a successful PR professional:
This goes without saying. When it comes to achieving success in PR, the importance of written and spoken communication skills cannot be stressed enough. You could be writing anything from a press release to a thought leadership article, case study, report or award entry – the list goes on! Spoken communication skills are equally as essential: a large part of a career in PR is liaising with clients, as well as the media, on a regular basis, over the phone or in face to face situations such as meetings, briefings or networking events. If client communications are not handled effectively, relationships can break down quickly, which is catastrophic for any agency in terms of reputation and growth.
- Ability to work under pressure
Sometimes, PR can be demanding – but the results are so worth it. With frequent tight deadlines, from submitting an award on behalf of a client, a feature to an editorial team, or a whitepaper to a client contact, it’s essential to keep a cool head even when you can feel the heat rising. Of course, there’s a balance to strike: chances are, the pressure you put on yourself is worse than pressure coming from anywhere else. Scheduling calendar reminders for weekly tasks across each client, or using a weekly desk planner pad can help you to stay on top of things and never miss a deadline.
We don’t mean the physical type (although it’s always good to work on your yoga skills). PR, by nature, is highly varied and the ‘to do’ list you set at the beginning of the day is sometimes never quite ‘done’: unexpected tasks pop up and one breaking news story can mean all-hands-on-deck in terms of pitching a client for comment. Professionals in the PR industry are required to be highly flexible when it comes to managing time, and juggling their pre-set workload with spontaneous requests.
Out-of-the-box thinking is a crucial part of PR. Whether you’re developing a new campaign, brainstorming thought leadership topics, or crafting a blog post, creativity is key to getting your clients noticed by target audiences. Creativity is not only important in terms of clients, but also to the PR agencies internally: coming up with innovative ways to approach new business and recruitment processes can have immeasurable impact.
Finally, none of the above skills matter without an element of positivity when it comes to achieving success in PR. As our Account Executive Alex covered in his recent blog, the right levels of enthusiasm, and positivity to take on each day as its comes, can help you to have the career of a lifetime. Be mindful of the atmosphere you encourage as a member of your team: a little positivity often goes a long way and has a stronger impact than you might realise in terms of keeping everyone motivated.
Do you have the essentials skills of a PR professional? Great! We’re always looking out for new talent to join our team. Find out how to get in touch here – we’d love to hear from you.