10 Skills Every PR Pro Should Have (Or Develop)
⌛ By Kaylin R. Staten ⌛
I have never gotten bored as a public relations practitioner. That is saying quite a bit, considering I have been in the profession for a decade. I fell in love with PR in college and have never looked back or reconsidered my career choice.
Throughout these past 10 years, I’ve compiled list after list pertaining to what public relations pros (or anyone communicating a message) should possess. Some traits are natural, while others have to be learned in the classroom or on your own until you practice enough to meet mastery levels.
Here are 10 skills every PR pro should develop and begin to practice every day:
Public relations professionals have the learned or natural knack for storytelling. You’ll write a script for a television appearance, type press releases and create storyboards for video and audio projects. Every good story, whether it’s oral, written or otherwise, begins with writing. As a PR pro, it always pay dividends to emphasize your writing skills and capabilities. My absolute first professional love is writing, so being a PR pro ties in my first love with several more skills I’ve accumulated along the way.
For an introvert-turned-omnivert, public speaking used to terrify the living daylights out of me. I would prepare for WEEKS when I had to give a presentation in high school and college. I would fret, and honestly, it could have contributed to my early onset of gray hairs (that and genetics). The more you practice public speaking, the more you will become comfortable with it. I know, I know, that sounds insane, but PR is a wonderful career to constantly encourage you to get outside of your comfort zone, especially in the realm of media relations.
Being detail-oriented is one of a PR pros’ best assets. You’re able to delve into the wonderful world of Research, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation (RPIE) without batting an eye. Sure, RPIE presents its own sets of challenges, but the more organized you are, the better off you will be. To a PR pro, organization manifests in the forms of SMART objectives, strategic to-do lists and spreadsheets for miles.
To be as effective as possible, you need to be both a strategist and tactician. Most of us are comfortable with tactics, like sending out press releases, scheduling social media posts and all of the other behind-the-scenes ways to communicate our messages. When you’re a strategist, too, that means you’re at the table with the decision-makers and have a hand in creating the strategic plan; thus, you’re seen as a leader within your organization and beyond.
Thinking outside of the box is the name of the PR game. You’ll always aspire to reach your publics in different ways, and creativity plays a vital role in PR success. Don’t be afraid to try new ways to communicate, and always keep up with industry trends. You’ll want to remain ahead of the curve.
This may sound cheesy, but PR pros never give up. When one door closes, they open a window or go down a different avenue. You will hear “no” over and over, but don’t be afraid to keep going under you hear that “yes.” There will be days that you just don’t have productivity ingrained in you, but never give up on your goals and objectives.
One of public relations’ keystones is building and maintaining relationships. The more attuned you are to the human mind, heart and soul, the more you will be able to communicate well and actually reach your target publics. One way to do this is by color psychology. Also, pay attention to how your publics react to certain messages and tailor your own messages to their needs and wants.
Good time management skills
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are your communications efforts. It’s important to maintain good time management skills when you’re in the PR field. That means that instead of wasting two hours watching YouTube videos, you’re spending necessary time working toward you goals and objectives -- even if they are baby steps in the right direction.
Ethics are an instrumental aspect of PR. Without ethics, your audiences will not take you, your organization, products, services, et al, seriously. Your professional codes of ethics work in tandem with your individual values, morality and knowledge of what is right personally and professionally.
If you’re in a communications field, you have to be able to go with the flow. There will be some days that require you to abandon your predetermined to-do list because of an impending deadline or crisis. Your schedule, as well as your skill set, have to be versatile. You never want to be a one-trick pony.
Check out our other blog post on: You Know You’re Meant To Be In PR When…
Kaylin R. Staten, APR, is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer based in Huntington, WV with nearly 16 years of professional communications experience. As CEO and founder of Hourglass Media, she uses her compassionate spirit and expertise to delve into the heart of clients’ stories. She is a recovering perfectionist, mental health advocate, wife, cat mom and Leia Organa aficionado. Connect with Kaylin on LinkedIn.