There’s a meme doing the rounds about how Marketing and PR professionals are required to learn so many new platforms and tactics almost on the daily, while Karen from finance is using the same old Excel spreadsheet she’s been using since she graduated. The upshot? We all need a payrise!
All jokes aside, there’s no time to rest on your laurels when you’re a PR pro. Things have changed considerably, even in the last 18 months, meaning there are a whole host of new non-negotiables to be really good at your job. Here’s five traits and skills modern-day PRs need to have:
You need to understand data and how to interpret it.
Nope, tracking the number of emails you sent out pitching to journalists doesn’t qualify. All professions on the marketing and comms spectrum now need to know where to find the most reliable data, understand what it’s telling you, and present it in a way that’s palatable for the client. Not sure? Check out our article on data you might be missing right now.
You need to have the ability to learn new tools and tactics quickly
You can’t be afraid to try new things in this profession. There’s a new tik tok, reels, digital publication popping up every day, and it’s important we’re on top of new developments to be able to report back to our clients and brands on the ones that are most effective. High level PR pros test and play with these new tools – using them personally makes you more qualified to advise on them from a professional point of view.
You need to be open to new ways of doing things
Yes, your company might have always managed samples with emails, hope, and a very out of date excel spreadsheet, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do it. PRs need to be open to new ways of working that are more efficient. Clients want to see real results, particularly as budgets are tightening in a post-COVID world, which means you need to be able to do more with less. Often that looks like finding efficiencies in old, stale processes, because there’s always a better way to do something.
You need to know how to switch off
Your notifications are going to be dinging constantly, so if you want to be able to maintain your mental health, it’s vital to make sure you know how to quiet the noise. Turn off your notifications after hours, have phone-free time, set do-not-disturb while you’re sleeping and know what fills your cup, whether that’s exercise, time with friends or getting back to nature.
You need to know how to tell a great story.
With editors inboxes full to bursting, a really good PR professional knows how to create cut-through with their storytelling ability. You’ll need to be able to get to the heart of what’s really unique or interesting about a brand, and present that in a way that shows you really understand the end consumer – the reader. You’ll also need to know how to tell a story not just for print or digital but also for audio – with the popularity of podcasts surging, being able to communicate to a podcast host what your talent can teach their audience, or what they can go really deep on, will be a skill for the future.
Image by Auguste the Label, downloaded via Flaunter