Develop strong communication skills and nurture relationships.
Most importantly, public relations is based off relationships. If you want to work in PR, being able to small talk and be sociable is a must because it builds trust with clients and the media–which are crucial for our industry. It shows that you’re dedicated and interested, two key qualities for having strong relationships.
Hone your writing skills
To succeed in public relations today, you not only need to be a great face-to-face communicator, but also an excellent writer. In the digital age we live in, knowing how to professionally and comfortably write a decent email, letter or press release is essential. Even something as small as a grammatical error can mean the difference between success and failure, so hone your writing skills if you want to make it in PR!
Always be updated
In order to achieve success in public relations, you need to be constantly informed about what is going on so that you can keep your clients and the media up-to-date. A key part of this is getting to know your client, company, industry and target media inside out. Make it a goal to learn something new about them every day – that way, when it comes time for pitching a story idea, you’ll be the most knowledgeable person in the room.
Be attentive to details.
No detail is too small to pay attention to. Your clients rely on you to protect and improve their reputation, and in the age of social media and instant news, one tiny mistake can spread like wildfire within an hour. It’s crucial that you take the time to plan each communication with the media carefully, and review it thoroughly before sending it off — it will be worth it when your client gets that positive press coverage they’re looking for.
Develop confidence when speaking in front of an audience.
If you’re looking to break into public relations, being able to hold your own in a room full of people is key! Get comfortable with speaking in front of groups, whether it’s one executive or a hundred members of the media. You won’t be successful at this job unless you can convey a brand message or story convincingly to an audience.
Master multi-tasking skill
A vital characteristic of a successful public relations individual is the ability to multitask since there should always be something happening with your brand or client every day. This ranges from pitching to the media and controlling a crisis, to initiating a new campaign. Consequently, being able to manage multiple projects or clients simultaneously is essential.
Be prepared to change your plans if necessary.
With the industry changing as rapidly as it is, being able to adapt has become crucial. Every day there are new technologies and marketing techniques emerging, so staying up-to-date is essential. What works for a client’s social media campaign today might not work tomorrow, so it’s important to be flexible in order to keep up with the changes in the industry.
Develop a thick skin
Public relations isn’t for the faint of heart. You will get shot down quite often, but to be successful, you have to be able to withstand that criticism and persevere through the times when you find yourself at the negative end of a meeting, pitch or campaign feedback. Developing a thick skin will help you recover from those misfortunes and come back even stronger for yourself personally as well as for the client you are representing.
Remain calm and wait patiently.
Oftentimes in public relations, results aren’t instantaneous. For example, you might not see immediate results from a PR campaign or hear back from publications promptly after pitching them. In these situations, it’s important to have patience.
Don’t think you know everything.
You can improve every day. The public relations industry is always developing, so there are continuously new things to network about and people to meet. While building your career in public relations, act like a sponge and absorb as much information as possible. Even when you have become an experienced professional relied on by others in the field, remember that there is still plenty left to learn—nobody knows it all.