Not long ago, public relations success meant getting your company or client’s name mentioned in a local newspaper. For a PR pro, the clear path to making that happen usually involved writing a press release.
Things have changed.
Today the PR practitioner’s role has left the press office and has gone global. A win can mean anything from a media placement to a clever tweet to strategic content—plus countless other possibilities that amplify a brand’s message.
What skills do you need to thrive in today’s ever-changing PR world?
1. Ability to work a reporter beat. An essential skill for today’s PR pro is the ability to identify and evaluate stories within their brand. This is exactly what a beat reporter does for a news outlet. PR pros who can develop compelling stories within their market will be head and shoulders above their counterparts. As more and more content gets pushed out by brands, only the very best material will be embraced by the target audience.
2. Content creation skills. PR is built on a foundation of good storytelling. At the very minimum, PR practitioners should be able to write content in a variety of formats including news style, first-person blogs and listicles. More important, they should know how to produce rich multimedia content—such as photos, videos and graphics—so their content stands out in the age of scrolling social media feeds.
3. Strategic thinking ability. The days of high-level management handling strategy while staff members execute tactics are long gone. In today’s PR environment, everyone at every level of PR is expected to understand and help achieve their company’s business goals. PR pros who can think about the big picture while flawlessly executing their work will stand out among the rest.
As the public relations industry transforms, so should you. Find conferences, webinars and other learning opportunities to keep your skills evolving so you can stay at the top of your PR game.
Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, a public relations firm that specializes in brand journalism, named Best Health Care Agency in both 2013 and 2014 in Ragan’s Health Care PR & Marketing Awards. She’s on Twitter at @LisaArledge.