- Sadie Gaus
Top 7 Skills to Possess that Result in a Successful PR Professional
1. Communication Skills
An incredibly necessary skill to possess as a PR professional is, you guessed it, communication! It is imperative that you know how to communicate and speak well with others. This one seems like a completely obvious one, however you’d be surprised at how many people think they can pursue a career in PR with little to no communication skills. You must be able to communicate your thoughts clearly and succinctly in a timely manner. However, as important as it is to be a successful communicator, it’s equally as important if not more important to be a superb listener. It is vital that you are able to read, communicate and listen to your client’s verbal and non-verbal language.
2. Knowledge of Social Media
In a world that continues to become increasingly more codependent on social media, never has it been more important than now to learn how to use social media to your client’s advantage. When I speak of having knowledge regarding the “in’s and out’s” of social media, I do not mean learning how to create and post videos on Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube or Tik Tok. Rather, take the time to learn the business analytics behind what makes social media so incredibly popular. Learn the “why” and “how” social media can be one of your client’s most invaluable business assets. Learn how to utilize social media to drive your client’s business forward.
3. Business-Oriented Mindset
Keep your eye on the prize! People in PR must establish a game-plan for how they are going to achieve both theirs and their client’s goals. A PR professional needs to create a plan that both solves and answers the golden question- “How does the desired result I am striving to achieve contribute to the overall (big picture) success of both my business and client?
4. You Must Be a News-Junkie!
Regardless of what market or category your client or account falls under, you need to know and beware of current news (local and international). Short of knowing everything about the entire world, you need to know about the entire world. You need to be aware of all trending news so that you can better assist your client. It is your job to present them in the best light possible. This isn’t possible if you are unaware of what’s going on in the world.
5. Thick Skin!
As an inquiring or aspiring PR professional, it’s important to realistically see the day-to-day life of a PR professional for what it is. This job, like every other job, has its few moments of glamour sprinkled in, but for the most part the day-to-day life of a PR professional consists of rejection. I hate to say this, but you will have more rejection than you do successes and wins. Expect for many of your business ideas and pitches to be shot down by both your boss and your clients more times than you have fingers and toes. However, there isn’t anything wrong with this. I suggest using your rejections as a learning experience. Use your rejections as fuel to motivate you forward in working towards your next bigger and better idea. Getting rejected is the nature of this business. As a result, it is important that you not take rejection personally.
6. Are you Persuasive? How Persuasive? Persuasive enough to Convince a Monkey to stop Eating Bananas?
Something else I would take into consideration when considering a career in PR is your ability to persuade others. You will likely discover that second to rejection, persuasion is the second largest part of your job. As a PR professional, a bulk of your time will be spent brainstorming and researching. However, the other bulk of your time will be spent persuading the minds of your boss, clients, and most importantly the media. You’ll discover that coming up with your one “big idea” is a relatively small hurdle in the grand scheme of hurdles you are going to be faced with. I argue that your biggest hurdle will be in convincing and persuading the minds of both your boss and the media as to why your idea is a good plan. At the end of the day, you need to be prepared to spend countless hours at your drawingboard only to come up with one idea and then have to spend weeks sometimes more constantly convincing your boss, clients and the media as to why they should believe in and adopt your ideas.
7. Ability to Work Exceedingly Well Under Pressure!
If you have the ability to work well under pressure, consider yourself blessed! This is a valued skill across a variety of careers, but especially in the world of PR. You will often be faced with tight-deadlines, as a result, it is imperative that you stay calm and collected. For example, believe it or not, it’s happened before, but sometimes your client may throw you a curveball. Regardless of how organized and well-planned out you are, plan for the unexpected! You will often experience unexpected changes and events. As a result, having the ability to respond effectively under pressure gives you a large advantage.