Public Relations Skills: Definition and Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 21 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Public relations (PR) skills are essential for PR professionals who manage the public image of brands or individuals. Developing the right PR skills can help you better meet the needs of clients. Understanding what PR skills are and learning how to improve them can help you demonstrate them to a hiring manager during a job interview and increase your chances of securing a PR role. In this article, we define what PR skills are and provide examples, outline tips on how to improve them, cover how you can use them in the workplace and ways to highlight them when seeking jobs or considering a career change.

What are public relations skills?

Public relations skills are competencies that enable PR professionals to perform various tasks. These tasks may range from communicating events, writing speeches and conducting research on currents trend in the market. PR skills are powerful proficiencies that can allow PR experts to strengthen a company's reputation, reach business objectives and build a positive brand image.

Related: What Is Public Relations (Plus 8 PR Tactics That Work)

Examples of public relations skills

Here are some examples of PR skills that can help you succeed in a PR role:

Communication

PR specialists require strong communication and active listening abilities to ensure the proper flow of information between a client and the public. Harnessing your communication skills can help you engage better with audiences, develop compelling PR campaigns and create engaging content that meets a client's needs. Effective communication can also help you work more efficiently as part of a team, such as by communicating your ideas more clearly to your colleagues.

Research

Research influences the effectiveness of a PR campaign. As a PR professional, it's crucial to research and expand your expertise in a client's product or service. When presenting your plan to a client, it's essential to have a strong understanding of what the client is looking for and know what campaigns they've liked or disliked in the past. This can help you develop campaigns that better align with their values and goals. Completing background research can also help you present your subject more confidently to clients, journalists and analysts, and improve your capacity to meet your client's needs.

Research can help you identify a target market and determine how you can appeal to them. With this knowledge, you can also market your messages using mediums that a client's target market prefers. This helps increase the cost-effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Having current knowledge of market developments, competition, technology and consumer trends may also help you execute a successful campaign.

Writing

Excellent writing skills are essential for a public relations professional when creating interesting media content and drafting professional emails, speeches and statements for clients. A firm grasp of spelling, grammar and attention to detail can help you write error-free and compelling content. As a PR specialist, it's essential to write content that creates a desirable impact on clients and influences them based on the needs of the client. It's also essential to have consistent messaging across different channels, such as using similar tones and wording.

Social media expertise

Proper understanding and knowledge of all contemporary social media platforms is an essential skill for publicists. Social media platforms differ in how they work and to whom they can appeal, and each platform may require a unique strategy. Understanding social media can help you determine which platforms different audiences prefer and which messages and tones are more appropriate for specific platforms.

Social media skills can also allow you to understand how your target audiences use social media, what motivates them to make decisions and what intrigues them. You can also identify and analyse social media trends, and utilise them in your campaign execution to increase brand awareness.

International viewpoint

Understanding the worldwide perspective is essential for a PR professional. As a PR professional, you may deal with clients from various countries with different cultures and languages. An international perspective can allow you to recognise diversity and audience segmentation. Having a global perspective can also help you create content for each specific audience. A skilled publicist recognises and anticipates these distinctions and can appeal to various audiences.

Creativity

Public relations work often necessitates imaginative thinking when developing unique strategies for campaigns, overcoming challenges or writing or launching a new branding approach to an existing product or service. As each PR campaign is unique, it's beneficial to have a variety of techniques that can help you troubleshoot, brainstorm, problem solve and collaborate with your team members to meet a client's needs.

Related: What Is Creativity? (With Definition, Examples and Tips)

Time management and multitasking

Time management is essential for a PR professional because time constraints often occur during campaigns. Effective time management skills may help you meet or adhere to campaign deadlines and enable you to stay organised to achieve your objectives. Multi-tasking is essential to succeeding in a fast-paced work environment like PR. Multitasking entails managing several clients with various requirements and time frames to achieve desired results. You may have several social media platforms and campaigns to track and update concurrently.

Relationship-building skills

PR professionals can form productive relationships with businesses, the press and the public to build a professional network. Your ability to develop relationships while expressing your confidence and charm can complement your oral and written communication skills. You can use interpersonal skills, such as active listening, patience, emotional intelligence and outstanding leadership, to build these partnerships.

Related: Explore How to Become a Public Relations Specialist

How to improve your PR skills

Here are some tips on how you can improve your PR skills:

1. Develop your writing skills

Excellent writing can help you better plan and execute effective PR campaigns. Here are some ways to improve your writing skills:

  • Take a writing class. Enrolling in a writing class can help you improve your writing skills and provide you with the opportunity to practise writing regularly.

  • Proofread your work. Before sending any content to a client, it's important to proofread to identify and revise any grammar or spelling errors.

Related: What Is Persuasive Writing? (With 5 Writing Techniques)

2. Develop your relationship-building skills

Relationship-building skills can play a major role in building and strengthening relationships. Here are some ways you can build better relationships:

  • Utilise your connections. Authentically creating and distributing content can help you strengthen bonds with people you already know. These people may link you with people in their networks and help you create a bigger professional network.

  • Diversify your marketing. You can build better relationships by implementing diverse communication methods. Utilise both digital and traditional media, such as social media, events, newsletters and other methods of communication.

3. Learn how to manage your time effectively

To improve your time management skills, you can start your tasks early and set a time limit for each task. You can also prioritise and schedule your tasks according to deadlines to ensure productivity for all your clients. You can use a checklist to keep you accountable and focus on one task at a time.

PR skills in the workplace

Here are some ways a PR professional can use their skills in the workplace:

  • Listening actively: Active listening can foster a strong bond between you and the management or colleagues in a workplace. It can enable you to broaden your perspective without attaching your own opinions and biases to someone else's message.

  • Public speaking: Public speaking abilities can enable you to communicate critical messages to different audience types effectively. For example, you may prepare different material for a staff versus a client meeting.

  • Presentation: The company may require you to present a project or a proposal to prospective clients. You may explain your creative ideas to media buyers, clients or journalists in a professional and informative way.

How to highlight PR skills

Here's how you can highlight your PR skills when seeking jobs:

Public relations skills for a resume and cover letter

When highlighting your skills on your resume or cover letter, start with the most impressive relevant strengths. Make a strong statement about who you are, what you can do and how important you can be to prospective employers. In the skills or work experience section of your resume, you can list your PR skills to allow a hiring manager to understand why you're an ideal candidate.

Public relations skills for an interview

During an interview, the hiring manager may ask you about your strengths. This can be an excellent opportunity for you to highlight your PR skills. You can talk about specific scenarios and highlight the benefits of these skills in your previous jobs. For example, you can talk about how time management helped you achieve greater focus, prioritise projects and spend enough time on each project.

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