In today's fast-paced world, communication has become more important than ever before. Organisations of all types need to communicate effectively with all their stakeholders; including customers, employees, investors, and the media. Public relations (PR) professionals are the bridge between organisations and their audiences, helping them to create compelling brand stories, build relationships and manage reputations.
If you're interested in pursuing a career in PR, read on to learn more about this exciting field.
What is Public Relations?
Public relations is a profession that focuses on building and maintaining relationships between an organisation and, primarily, its external stakeholders. PR professionals work to promote an organisation's message, manage reputation, manage crisis situations and engage by delivering credible information with an organisation's audiences. PR is an essential part of any organisation's communications strategy, and it is critical to success in today's competitive business environment.
Skills Required for PR
To be successful in the field of PR, one needs to display a combination of technical and soft skills.
Technical skills will be in alignment to the job role and will include a flair for writing, building media relations, event management planning and execution as well as gain experience and expertise over time to manage crisis situations.
Having soft skills is definitely a must for this highly acclaimed job. The skill of effective communication, collaboration, and problem-solving are essentials for this field. However, I am often inclined towards recruiting candidates that display a high dose of common sense and passion for their work, as these traits are a rarity.
From a critical aspect, for a candidate aspiring to be part of the PR industry, good writing skills is one of the most essential for PR professionals. As from ancient times we have heard this famous idiom that the pen is mightier than the sword; so is the case in PR because what you write adds to the credibility of the publisher and as a content generator one must know how to captivate a reader of the news being published.
A candidate that is able to write clear, concise, and engaging content that effectively communicates their organisation's message is a definite direct, hence good content writers have a great opportunity to land a job in PR agencies.
Effective orators and good communicators or even someone from a sales field have a good opportunity to get into Media Relations. The media relations opportunity is an excellent platform for aspiring candidates to land themselves a job in the PR industry. The role of media professionals is to be able to represent their brand or clients with the media platforms. To be able to effectively conduct this task, one needs to build relationships with journalists and reporters to be able to effectively pitch ideas, topics and stories to the media fraternity.
Event management is also an important skill as PR professionals are often expected to organise press events and conferences, to promote their organisation or cause. They need to be able to plan, execute and manage events successfully which becomes a crucial KRA for proficient and experienced PR professionals.
Finally, a specialisation in PR called crisis management. This is a specialty and needs experience and expertise to manage critical situations to damage control negative propaganda. This field needs PR professionals to have excellent media relations to influence and embed the company or their clients’ perspective with the media and generate news quickly and effectively in the event of a crisis, to minimise damage to an organisation's reputation.
To be able to fit in or if you are a fresher joining this industry the one skill you will need to practise effectively is to 'move out of your comfort zone and be willing to continually explore and learn’.
About the author: An innovative planner and doer, Smita Khanna, who is currently the Chief Operating Officer & the PR Division SBU Head at Newton Consulting India Pvt. Ltd., holds vast professional experience in the media and marcom realm. She has played pivotal roles in planning and executing brand strategy solutions for organisations, across a gamut of industries. Smita has thorough knowledge of public relations, brand communication, brand activations and this extensive working knowledge of the marcom space along with her unmitigated zeal for results, makes her as a powerhouse to reckon with! Spanning over 19 years of experience, her career boasts of endless vigour and commitment. She brings in a holistic perspective to brand communication and is an ardent believer & implementer of 360-degree brand stewardship.