Degrees are not everything, especially when it comes to Public Relations. To be a successful PR professional one needs to be an all-rounder. It is important to hone your skills to strengthen your career in this profession. Technology has played a major role in bringing about a paradigm shift, but we have not yet reached that stage where human intervention can be ruled out.
My two-month Internship at a leading Public Relations firm has helped me identify a set of core skills that an aspiring Public Relations professional should have.
This is like the alphabets of Public Relations. Strong communication skills backed by smart diplomacy defines the foundation for your career in this profession. You should be able to articulate your ideas and listen to others. Listening is important here because communication is a two-way process. To be a good communicator you should be able to understand body language and be observant enough to look out for other forms of non-verbal hints which reflects the state of mind of people. As a PR professional you will always be selling something and how well you do that depends on your ability to communicate.
Your statements have to be backed by facts. You need to be updated about current happenings, about your clients and their business as well as their competitors. You will be required to map out trends as per your clients’ requirement. If you are serious about a career in PR be ready to do a lot of research and of you are naturally inquisitive you will enjoy this part.
Content generation and documents are unavoidable to PR. Drafting Press releases, drafting interview answers, briefing reports, event reports, case studies the list can go on. Good writing skills is a must. This skill has to be backed with your research skill and to generate content you need to have knowledge about the subject and for that you need to research.
Creativity and PR go hand in hand. Public Relations as a profession constantly calls for ideas and originality. PR professionals develop strategies for clients. Being able to contribute in brainstorming sessions for campaigns and strategies require creative and original thinking. Thinking out of the box, being creative is a key factor to being successful in this field.
Print and TV still holds great deal of influencing power and therefore cannot be ignored. If you wish to build your career in PR, be prepared to make those media calls, update numerous media lists and pitch for your clients constantly. Mapping industry trends and competitors are also a part of this.
Social Media has taken over the world. Digital content creation, online reputation management, SEO are very much in demand. It is much more than liking, sharing and retweeting. Social media has bridged the gap between brands and consumers. To cope with this transition, it is important to have an understanding of digital communications.