Strategic public relations is important for every organization. Operating in conjunction with broader marketing activities, the public relations department is responsible for a number of key communications and reputational tasks. An organization’s public relations representatives must have excellent written, verbal, administrative and relationship-building skills as well as an in-depth understanding of the media and a keen news sense.
Communicating with journalists has traditionally been the mainstay of the public relations (PR) professional. An organization’s public relations representative must have a strong understanding of the media as well as how journalists work. A PR representative should know what makes a strong news story and be able to effectively tailor and pitch it to different kinds of media outlets -- online, print and broadcast.
The ability to write a wide variety of materials for media and internal use is an important skill for the PR professional. Media materials include press releases, news alerts, commentaries, feature-length articles and case studies. Important internal documents, such as reports, biographies, analysis, research summaries, and background and briefing materials, are another major part of the public relations representative's job.
Excellent verbal communication skills are essential for a public relations representative. The ability to speak succinctly with clarity and persuasiveness should be developed. Whether it is talking to the media, acting as an organization spokesperson, giving an briefing to colleagues or making a presentation or a client, verbal communication is at the heart of the occupation.
Planning and Organzining
Effective public relations campaigns are carefully planned to impact and influence during a given time frame. An organization’s PR representatives must think strategically to ensure these plans are an extension of overall marketing and business objectives.
Although often overlooked, sound administrative and organizational skills are as important in public relations as they are in any other area of a business. Keeping up-to-date lists of media contacts and story and feature schedules are important day-to-day campaign tactics.
A successful public relations representative should have strong interpersonal skills and be adept at networking -- in person and virtually. The PR professional will network with employees and executives of all levels, as well as with the media, industry peers and other partners.
Knowing how to work effectively under challenging deadlines is a frequent requirement for a public relations representative. The ability to produce high-quality work and communications under pressure is a crucial skill, given the PR professional's regular contact and cooperation with the media.