Thinking about entering the world of PR? Here are five top skills you’ll need, along with five handy tools that will help you out along the way.
PR is a fast paced environment – if you’re happy to roll up your sleeves, get stuck in and, at times, be under a lot of pressure, then you’ll do just fine. But it’s not all about being able to work hard and fast… with media platforms constantly changing and consumers demanding more and more innovative content, your skill set needs to be varied and adaptable.
- Adaptability – in an ever changing industry it’s essential to remain ahead of the curve, which means you need to be willing to embrace – and more importantly spearhead – change. The press office has changed drastically from five years ago… if you’re looking for a job like Samantha Jones in Sex and The City, you may be surprised to discover that you become more of a Carrie Bradshaw; so, it’s less schmoosing and more writing lots of copy, whilst still getting your client’s name out there.
- Content – content always has been and will remain the staple that we work around. There is no comms without content, so understanding content well and its various forms is essential. Content is always lead by the audiences needs, so you also need a good understanding into what makes people tick.
- Consultancy – the agency function is adapting, so it’s important that you are aware that eventually your role will see you act more as a consultant to marketing teams, whilst still rolling out the bread and butter. In other words, you need to be able to multitask.
- Finesse – to be a successful communicator, you need endless dimensions and skills; writing ability, a nose for a news story, a people person, hard working, creative and disciplined to name a few. PR and comms is fun, but it takes a lot of hard work and talent to become a truly effective communicator.
- Vision – if you don’t have vision in this industry you may as well go home. What good looks like is ever changing and the execution of an idea can become old hat in an instant. If you’re a visionary, you can be schooled in basic skills such as grammar and proofing, but if you don’t have vision it’s very hard to be taught it
Every aspiring communicator needs a good toolbox. With digital media now the leading medium from which we consume content, as industry professionals it’s really important for us to have a comprehensive understanding as to what consumers want, how they’re accessing our content and how we can make our campaigns stand out. These tools are all designed to help PRs measure, research and evaluate activity with more transparency and accuracy.
- Google Analytics – probably the most important tool for measurement. GA allows us to monitor success rates with more accuracy, be it tracking online conversion rates via Goal Setting, or monitoring web footfall via trackable links.
- Answer The Public – this is a great tool for monitoring how people are searching around a topic or phrase on the web. So, if you’re stuck for blog topic ideas, pop in a search term, or if you’re looking to boost SEO via smart phrases, again take a look at how people engage the most around a certain theme using this tool.
- Pexels – there’s nothing worse than leading a great PR story with a poor picture, if you’re stuck for strong imagery, take a look at Pexels – a free to use image provider.
- Natural Reader – proofing copy can be a total chore, not least if it’s a heavy topic. Natural Reader speaks your written words back to you, forcing your brain to focus on a word at a time, and allowing you to slow down and focus when proofing.
- Snappa or Aviary – both photo editing apps, these are great tools for creating engaging content for your social media platforms. The apps are pretty flexible and help to make your social feeds more vibrant.
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