Essential Public Relations Skills and How To Improve Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

February 23, 2021

Public relations skills are essential for working in a variety of jobs that require regular communication with others. They typically include skills such as communication, research and the ability to identify trends in public opinion. Knowing how to leverage these skills could make you a valuable contributor to a company's communications and marketing departments.

In this article, we cover some of the most important public relations skills and how you can improve and highlight them to your benefit.

What are public relations skills?

Public relations skills are a wide range of capabilities and proficiencies that typically fall under the category of communications and marketing. These skills can be put to use for a variety of purposes, from introducing new products or services to enhancing the reputation of a company. In most cases, public relations skills help shape public opinion, which is especially helpful if a company wants to reshape its brand.

Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

Examples of public relations skills

Here are some of the most commonly used public relations skills:

  • Communication

  • Social media skills

  • Research

  • Time management

  • Creativity

Communication

Effective communication skills will enable you to come up with captivating content, engage with audiences and start compelling PR campaigns. Communication skills will also help you work more effectively as part of a team and express your ideas to your coworkers better.

Social media skills

Much of public relations involves immersing yourself in social media. You need to know how your audiences are behaving on social media, what drives them to make decisions and what interests them. You also need to regularly keep up with social media trends and leverage them to your client's or company's advantage.

Research

A great deal of your work as a PR professional may involve conducting research. You need to know as much as you can about your clients, and it's equally important to know how to captivate your audience. Thorough research will also help you determine the most effective approach to a particular campaign and to discover details that could be beneficial to your client.

Time management

PR campaigns are often subject to strict time requirements. With all the work that you will need to do to launch and maintain a campaign, it's important to have excellent time management skills. Effective time management will enable you to stay organized and achieve your goals while maintaining the necessary level of quality in your work.

Creativity

The ability to think creatively is essential for a successful PR campaign. Each PR situation is different, so you should be able to apply different approaches and techniques to deal with every given scenario.

Related: Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

How to improve public relations skills

Public relations is a fast-paced industry, so you should improve your skills regularly to remain competitive. Here are some suggestions on how you can improve your public relations skills.

  1. Learn new skills.

  2. Be aware of industry trends.

  3. Try different writing styles.

  4. Set goals for personal and professional development.

  5. Learn more about your client's focus.

1. Learn new skills

Public relations work can place you in many situations, with new lessons to be learned every step of the way. Use these situations as opportunities to learn new skills, some of which you will be able to apply to other campaigns in the future.

2. Be aware of industry trends

The longer you work in the PR industry, the more aware you will be about what other people are doing. Pay attention to what others are doing in your niche, as well as what is going on in the wider industry. It can be beneficial to follow social media postings of prominent PR professionals and to regularly monitor trade sites and publications to stay current with new trends.

3. Try different writing styles

Experiment with different approaches to writing and voices you can use when communicating with the public. Over time, you may find yourself developing your own voice and gravitating toward it most of the time, which can give your writing a strong personal identity. Try spending some time every day to write and communicate with others to enrich your voice and to help you become a more versatile PR professional.

4. Set goals for personal and professional development

Setting goals for yourself and striving to achieve them is an effective strategy for improving your skills as a public relations professional. For example, you could aspire toward better engagement over the next few months or increase the view count of a particular video. Establishing personal and professional goals will give you something to work toward and help you measure your progress.

Related: Setting Goals To Improve Your Career

5. Learn more about your client's focus

Ultimately, public relations work is about helping your clients achieve their goals. Whether they are launching a new brand, signifying a change in company direction or enhancing the company's reputation, your role is to help them meet these objectives as effectively and as efficiently as possible. Therefore, you should constantly strive to learn as much as you can about your client and how you can help them realize their goals.

Public relations skills in the workplace

There are many ways in which you can utilize and develop public relations skills in the workplace. Here are a few examples using some common public relations skills:

  • Flexibility: Being a public relations specialist requires you to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. For example, in one public relations campaign, your main responsibility may be to introduce a new product. In another, it may be to announce a shift in the company's direction. You need to be flexible enough to be equally effective in both roles.

  • Initiative: Self-motivation is an important aspect of public relations work. You should be able to quickly figure out how you can benefit your client, whether it involves learning about new communication strategies or doing industry research.

  • Teamwork: Public relations professionals rarely work alone. In most cases, you will work as part of a team that may include researchers, marketers and others in similar roles. You need to be able to work well with others in high-pressure situations in order to carry out the most effective campaign possible.

  • Brand management: Public relations work often involves enhancing the reputation of your company's brand. You should be able to leverage your brand's strengths and present them in a way that appeals to the public.

How to highlight public relations skills

After you've developed the skills necessary to become an effective PR professional, the next step is to highlight these skills. Here are some suggestions for highlighting your skills to prospective employers:

Public relations skills for a resume

Here are some ways to highlight public relations skills on your resume:

  1. Decide on the most relevant skills to present. Make a list of your skills and take note of those that are most relevant to the role of a PR specialist. Focus on your ability to launch and maintain a publicity campaign, for example, as well as communication and organizational skills.

  2. Associate your skills with practical situations. When outlining your skills, include details about how they apply to particular situations. If you mention communication skills, for example, detail how these skills helped you keep a PR team organized and focused on their tasks.

  3. Emphasize your most recent skills. Try to showcase the skills that you have put to use recently. This will show prospective employers that your skill set remains relevant to current situations and that you can maintain a high level of professionalism throughout your work.

Public relations skills for an interview

Below are some steps you can take to effectively discuss your public relations skills during an interview.

  1. Go in-depth about your skills. During your interview, be prepared to explain the skills you have outlined in your resume in more detail. Employers will want to know that you have a firm understanding of the skills required to be an effective PR specialist, so make sure you can explain the various aspects of your skills and how you can utilize them for the company.

  2. Detail the practical benefits of your skills. Before your interview, make sure that any skills you chose to highlight can effectively benefit the company. Organizational skills can be useful for managing a long-term PR campaign, for example, while writing skills can help you engage with an audience more effectively.

  3. Cover other relevant skills. You might want to ask the hiring manager if you could mention skills that may also be related to the job. Although you may not necessarily want to include these skills in a resume, mentioning them during an interview might help you make a good impression. For example, might mention volunteer work in a social organization or your experience as the editor of a community paper.

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