Written by: Amber Gillan
So, you want to be a Public Relations Professional? You have sat through the lectures, written exams, spoken to professionals in the field, and now find yourself wondering if you have what it takes to excel. Public Relations is one of the unique professions that does not have a definite job description. Your employer’s expectations will vary based on the industry and organization that you work in – but do not worry, the folks at UOPRA have you covered. We have selected the top five essential skills and personality types that every PR job requires. Own these skills and you will be well on your way to a successful career in the PR world.
Every good PR campaign starts with research. It is up to the practitioner to know the trends of the market and what the public perception is. Some ways to gather information are through media monitoring, focus groups, surveys, and panels. Though the actual researching can be done out of house, it is essential for the practitioner to understand how to analyze the results and how they relate back to the clients. This research will help to determine key messages and plans of action for campaigns.
Creativity is what can separate an amazing campaign from a mediocre one. Creativity makes events, campaigns, and other tactics memorable. It is what gets news coverage, what makes a trending topic on twitter, or what creates a viral video. Product launches happen every day, commercials air on television every fifteen minutes, millions of Tweets flood Twitter every second. Standing out is key. One great example of a creative campaign just in time for the holidays is the WestJet Christmas Miracle.
Being a master of multitasking will prove to be an asset no matter where you find yourself working. Whether it is a firm, a small business, or a major corporation, there will always be need to manage multiple tasks going on at once. PR professionals need to be able to stay organized and meet project deadlines. It may take some practice, but every Public Relations specialist will learn to balance responsibilities while keeping at least a bit of their sanity.
Problem solving and improvisation
It is the day of a major press conference and your spokesperson has the flu. One hour before a major product launch, the photographer says they are unable to come. One of your clients is involved in a scandal and it will be hitting the news tomorrow morning. All of these situations can happen in the PR world. It will be your responsibility to think fast and act even faster. If you have to jump on stage and give the press conference yourself, so be it. The best practitioners are able to come up with solutions quickly and calmly whenever a predicament arises. It is essential to always be on top of your game every day at work.
Confident and high energy
When a crisis hits, everyone turns towards the professional to have the plan of action. The practitioner needs to show confidence in their decisions in order for their clients to give their full trust and support. Confidence also makes clients more likely to respect the PR person`s wishes and listen to their advice. Handling the aftermath of a crisis or a campaign that didn`t run as planed can take a toll on the morality of an organization. Employees may feel sluggish and disappointed. High energy from the PR professional will keep spirits lifted and production levels even higher. Being a PR professional is also very grueling and fast paced; high energy along with some coffee is a necessity to stay on top of all of the work.
Well, there you have it. Mastering these five skills will help you transition into the real world and guide you on a path to becoming a successful Public Relations professional.
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