PR practitioners must be confident with different audiences – including existing and potential customers, suppliers, opinion leaders, investors, media and government officials. This is because their role may involve liaising with clients, journalists, and other important stakeholders. It is also essential to have exceptional writing skills as it is likely you will be creating press releases, articles, annual reports and content for newsletters. In addition, you should demonstrate impeccable skills in editing press releases, texts and reports.
PR roles can be amazingly varied, therefore you will need to manage your workload accordingly in order to meet strict deadlines. For that reason, having a flexible approach to work as well as multitasking are equally important. Therefore, you should be prepared to start work early and finish late.
As a PR practitioner you need to have an interest in what’s going on around you, catching up with latest trends, news stories, happenings etc. This is important because you may be called to identify major social issues affecting organisations, analyse future trends and predict their effects. Being news aware is also vital when it comes to advising clients, or brainstorming campaign ideas. You need to be aware of what a journalist wants, what’s interesting to them, and spin the information in a way that is in line with their newsdesk’s stance.
The vast majority of communications tasks have gone digital, which means that PR practitioners entering the labour market need to be digital savvy by default. This not only implies the ability to build web sites and managing social media effectively, but also the capacity to blend traditional press office work with digital press office work. While the Web 2.0 press officer needed to create and add content to Facebook pages, Twitter streams, Flickr and blogs, the Web 3.0 press officer will need to be able to create and edit geotagged data, various data sets, use apps and edit basic html.
PR professionals are charged with the responsibility to establish financial control, therefore they need to come up with innovative ways of showing return on investment to clients and management. This will be essential in the future, as PR practitioners find increasing pressure in proving the commercial value of the work they do.
Public Relations is an integral part of an organization’s success and survival because in today’s competitive market, reputation and good relationships with all organization stakeholders play a critical role in whether your customers will do business with you. The task of the PR practitioner is to manage reputation and “establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics”. Alternatively, it can be viewed as the art of talking to the right audience in the right voice so as to positively influence their perception.
Working in the field of Public Relations can be a really rewarding career with an abundance of opportunities across every business sector. If you are passionate about working in communication positions, here are the top 5 must-have skills for PR practitioners to make the most of: