Too often, people ask what exactly a Public Relations Officer does, even before a reply is given, some will suggest that the job entails nothing more than looking pretty or handsome in order to make the companies they represent look good to the public.
In truth, that is part of the responsibility but certainly not the whole story!
There is much more involved and of it behind the scenes. Working with a PR agency, I constantly have to explain that we don’t buy advertisements and we don’t order journalists to write stories that suit our clients.
We build media relations that help us promote our clients’ organizations and products through unpaid or earned methods. Whether it’s the traditional media, social media or speaking engagements, we communicate with our audiences through trusted, not paid, sources.
If you have something important say or a product to launch, the media will always be receptive. However how you package it to raise editors’ interest to highlight the story, is the difference between a good PR firm and an excellent one.
It’s important for all businesses to have a strong public image and as a result those intending to work in PR are usually in demand.
On the other hand, being seen as an exciting career also means it can be very competitive to get a job in this industry, so you’ll need to make sure that you stand out.
To be successful in PR, you have to be always on top of your game and here is how;
Public Relations (PR) is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. More than any other skill, communication is the one you will be using every day. On top of that, you must be an excellent listener and don’t let emotions colour your message.
It really helps if you possess the ability to write captivating content. Secondly, a strong grasp of grammar and attention to detail will make a huge difference. You should be able to walk into a job interview and present samples of articles, press releases, or copy you have written. Blog samples are another great way to show potential employers that you know how to write for new media.
Understanding social media
Having a strong understanding of social media does not mean that you know how to like a friend’s Facebook post or regularly post status updates on your wall. It means that you are knowledgeable about how to use social media to manage a potential employer’s brand and that you know how to use these platforms as tools for communicating with the public.
Multimedia skills play a huge part in presenting online content. As a Public Relations Specialist, it is important that you have at least a basic knowledge of how to manipulate various types of media. You may not be a blogger, but familiarity with where and how to post a blog is an advantage. Additionally, having a basic knowledge of Photoshop, YouTube, SEO (search engine optimization), and coding will make you more attractive as a potential hire.
Creativity is not just for artists, public relations specialists need to be constantly creative; exploring ways to lift your client’s profile. Whether by writing, coming up with a new approach to an old idea, or finding a way to attract new customers, public relations professionals are constantly required to be come up with ideas. If you can think outside the box and come up with novelty then you’ll be able to make your clients happy. Creativity is the key to success in this industry.
Go an extra mile
The additional hour spent researching a story idea, an extra-thorough response to a client question, or that last creative session in search of the winning concept make all the difference in your PR career.
Learn the business of your clients.
A common failing of up-and-coming PRs is the thought that they need only master the content and media relations skills necessary to support a client’s business. But it is only in learning the fundamentals of that business that you can maximize the value of the PR investment for the organization. That means knowing how to interpret a balance sheet, knowing about product distribution, and understanding revenue models.
Curiosity is one of the greatest assets in a potential new hire. It makes understanding a client’s business more organic and it separates the truly great practitioners from the merely competent. The more curious you are, the easier you will take to being a solid PR practitioner.
Do all this then thank me later!