5 Essential Public Relations Skills and How To Improve Them

Updated February 3, 2023

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 or marketing department.

In this article, we share a list of the most important public relations skills and explain how you can improve and highlight them to benefit your career.

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, Examples and How To Improve

5 examples of public relations skills

Here are some public relations skills professionals most commonly use:

1. Communication

Effective communication skills enable you to come up with captivating content, engage with audiences and start compelling PR campaigns. Communication skills can also help you work more effectively as part of a team and express your ideas to your coworkers better. You may also use these skills to strengthen your interpersonal skills, which can help you relate to and interact with the company's audience and your colleagues.

Related: 10 Communication Skills To Add to Your Resume

2. Social media

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

Related: How To Improve Social Media Engagement in 9 Steps

3. Research

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

Related: How To Write a Research Question: Steps and Examples

4. Time management

PR campaigns are often subject to strict time requirements. Launching and maintaining a campaign requires a lot of work, so it's important to have excellent time management skills. Effective time management can enable you to stay organized and achieve your goals while maintaining the necessary level of quality in your work. Developing time management skills can help you become more efficient and may lower work-related stress.

Related: 5 Key Tips for Improving Your Time Management Skills

5. Creativity

The ability to think creatively is essential for a successful PR campaign. Each PR situation is different, so it's helpful to be able to apply different approaches and techniques to deal with every given scenario. Developing creative skills can help you solve problems and find unique ways to connect to the organization's audience.

Related: Soft Skills: Definitions and Top Examples

How to improve public relations skills

Public relations is a fast-paced industry, so improving your skills regularly can help you remain competitive in the field. Here are some suggestions on how you can improve your public relations skills.

1. Commit to continuous learning

Public relations work can place you in many situations, which can provide many opportunities for continuous learning. You can use these situations as opportunities to learn new skills. It's also helpful to keep up to date knowledge of the industry by conducting research and building your professional network.

Related: How To Build Your Network in 7 Steps

2. Be aware of industry trends

The longer you work in the PR industry, the more aware you may 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's 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 develop your own voice and gravitate 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 help you become a more versatile PR professional.

Related: Content Writing Skills: Definition and Examples

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 can 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 effectively and efficiently. So, it's important to 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. Being flexible and able to adapt to new situations can help you become more effective in your role.

  • Initiative: Self-motivation is an important aspect of public relations work. This can help you 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. Being about to work well with others in high-pressure situations can help you lead more effective campaigns.

  • Brand management: Public relations work often involves enhancing the reputation of your company's brand. This skill allows you to leverage your brand's strengths and present them in a way that appeals to the public.

Related: Brand Management: Definition, Examples and Tips for Success

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 can 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. Provide in-depth information about your skills. During your interview, be prepared to explain the skills you have outlined in your resume in more detail. Employers often 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. Though you might not list all your skills on your resume, you can still mention your other abilities. For example, might mention volunteer work in a social organization or your experience as the editor of a community paper.

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