How To

PR professionals can’t be all bark and no bite: why public relations is no ‘soft’ subject

by Rachel Sharpe |

PR is sometimes accused of being a bit of a “soft” job – something any man and his dog can do given the right equipment. We at spottydog believe that it actually takes a very special pup – the best in breed, in fact! – to really crack the world of PR.  I’ve worked a number of different roles throughout my career so far, and although this is my first true venture into PR, I’ve managed to sniff out some of the most important traits a quality PR professional needs to really succeed.

People & Communication Skills

It goes without saying that to work successfully in PR, excellent people and communication skills are a must. The job primarily involves communicating with lots of different people, across a wide range of mediums, be that on the telephone, over email, on social media, or in person. From speaking to journalists to earn your client some great coverage, to ensuring the client’s message is expressed effectively across social media channels, any and all forms of communication are a vital part of the job role.

Research Skills

What to research? Everything!

Keeping up-to-speed on current affairs and the news agenda – whether that’s local, national or international – is a vital part of the job. Being out of touch with what’s going on in the world will limit your ability to represent your client in a world that wants up-to-the-second information.

Keeping track of the fast-paced digital world – from knowing the social media platforms that will best represent your client, to being clued-in on the latest trends – is an important part of any PR & Communications role.

Staying knowledgeable about your client – and your client’s rivals! – is invaluable. Knowing the industry that you’re representing and the market that you’re representing it to isn’t an option, it’s a necessity.

Organisational Skills

A job in PR can take you from writing copy, to pitching to a journalist, to overseeing a client’s launch event in half a day, so tiptop organisational skills are a must.

Writing Skills

Writing can make up a big part of a PR role, so it’s important for every piece of writing to be well crafted, well edited, free from errors, and absolutely fit for purpose, whether that’s a press release, a case study, an engaging piece of website content – or anything in between!

Creativity & Tenacity

I’ve grouped these traits up together, because I feel that sometimes creative folk get a bit of a bad rap for being a bit soft around the edges. Working in PR requires creative individuals, of course; people who can think outside of the box and come up with innovative ideas, but it requires a little bit of tenacity, too; a little bit of bark, so to speak! It’s not enough just to be creative; having the persistence to run with a good idea despite setbacks is a must for a PR professional.

This, I think, is what defines a role in PR; what sets it apart and what gives it an edge. It’s not a “soft” or “easy” job. You’ll struggle to make it as a PR professional if you’re all bark and no bite! Throughout my varied career history, I’ve managed to pick up and hone these skills over the years, and I’m looking forward to finally putting them all to great use in my role as spottydog’s new PR, Communications and Social Media Executive.