The 5 essential skills and abilities a PR practitioner must have (no matter what area of PR they decided to pursue) to succeed are: excellent writing skills, research ability, planning expertise, problem-solving ability, and business/economics competence.
1. Writing skills are important in public relations because a pr practitioners writing is what will formerly represent their client or company in mot cases. Whether it is though a news release, press release, or countless others, these documents have to get through gatekeepers. That makes it is vital that the pr professional can put information and ideas onto paper clearly and concisely. Poor spelling, grammar, and sloppy sentence structure will not convey a positive impact on the reader therefore will not convey a positive view of the client or company.
2. Research Ability is crucial because pr practitioners have to be able to back up their arguments up with reliable facts from reliable sources. This is what gives relevance and validity to the story. It is much easier to persuade someone when your argument is supported by cold hard truths. With this said, people in PR need or posses the ability to navigate the Internet and Databases for valuable information for there client or company. They also need to read current newspapers and magazines to get up to date information.
3. Planning expertise is essential because of the tasks involved in PR such as, meeting deadlines, event planning, keeping budgets, and making sure things are distributed promptly. These tasks require someone with strong organization skills, who is detail oriented and can also keep the big picture in mind. If events are not coordinated and fully planned it will reflect badly on the client or company. Same negative reflection will occur if budgets are exceeded and materials are not received when promised.
4. Strong Problem Solving ability is an essential skill in public relations that will earn a PR professional top salaries and promotions. Problem Solving ability is very important especially when dealing with a job that involves crisis management. The PR practitioner has to be able to come up with a innovative idea as fast as possible to smooth over a negative and complex problem. Also when making a public relations campaign the pr professional will have to identify the clients problem and solve it with a creative and memorable idea.
5. Business/economics competence is a valuable skill in PR because practitioners need to understand how a business operates in general and the employer’s industry in particular because the best companies weave public relations into their overall business strategy. If the PR person does not have a grip on these things it will be harder for them to figure out what there client or company needs.
Below are some job listings from monster.com that demonstrate the need for these 5 essential skills in real world job opportunities. The qualifications and responsibilities required for these positions all directly relate to the skills above.
I have also included a video from youtube.com for young professionals beginning a career in Public Relations. This video includes some of the essential skills I discussed as well as other useful tips from experienced communicators.
-Willcox, Dennis L. and Cameron, Glen T. Public Relations Strategies and Tactics. Ninth Edition. Pages. 1-28.
“Public Relations should never be ranked below marketing or advertising within an organization. Marketing and advertising should be placed under the umbrella of public relations because they usually target only one group – the consumer.”
I disagree that marketing and advertising should be placed under the umbrella of public relations, but I do agree public relations should never be ranked below marketing or advertising within an organization. I chose this stance because I think public relations, advertising and marketing should all be considered equal in the communications world. They all have different characteristics, but I do not think they should be ranked individually. Public relations, advertising and marketing can also support each other and can be quite cohesive in creating effective communications. I have created a Venn diagram to demonstrate this:
Advertising vs. Public Relations
Both advertising and public relations use mass media to communicate their messages to publics to either change opinions or make publics aware of issues/products, but the process is different for each. PR professionals prepare material which is then submitted to editors AKA gatekeepers, who then decide whether the material will be broadcasted, published, etc. or tossed. Advertising is paid space or broadcast time, so they never have to go through the gate keeping process. In other words advertisements are paid messages and PR messages are “earned.” Often times, public relations material that is produced is more cost effective and more credible because the message appears in a news context.
- How they can support one another:
- Advertising can be used as a communication tool in public relations when the advertisers are trying to sell goods and services. Public relations can support advertising campaigns by creating an environment in which the organization can thrive.
Marketing vs. Public Relations
Public relations and marketing both have the ultimate goal to insure an organization’s success, however marketing is focused on the four “P’s” (product, price, placement, and promotion), customers, and selling products and services. Public relations is focused on building relationships and generating goodwill for the organization. Public relations is also concerned with many publics, including the consumer, while marketing is concerned with primarily the consumer.
- How they can support one another:
- Public relations supports an organizations marketing objectives by developing new prospects for new markets when people inquire after seeing or hearing a product release in the news media. They also can generate sales leads through articles in the press about new products and services.
Each of the players in this model have their own strengths and weaknesses. For example the high cost of advertising and public relations professionals strength of managing relationships. Since they are all different, they can all work well together for an organization, or one individually could work well for a certain client and their specific goals. Ultimately, I do not think one should be ranked above or below the other or be placed under an umbrella of pr.
Willcox,Dennis L. and Cameron, Glen T. Public Relations strategies and tactics. Ninth Edition. pgs. 1-20.