How to  Succeed in PR

Public Relations is both a desirable and competitive industry to work in; just getting your foot through the door can be a challenge. So, what happens once you have managed to breakthrough? Here we explore the key skills required to succeed in PR.

A traditional PR role encompasses several elements, from client management and media relations through to research and writing. In order to pave out a successful career in PR, it’s essential that you master each of these areas.

Communication Skills

A job in Public Relations is anchored through communications. Liaising with various stakeholders, clients, media, audiences and your team are all part of the role. It is vital that you can confidently communicate with people across different territories and mediums so you can build your network.

At Boyce, we recruit for agencies across B2B Technology, Financial & Professional Services, Corporate PR and Public Affairs. These sectors require a person to be able to take complex concepts and explain them in a way that anyone would be able to understand. Presentations are also a big part of a role in PR, whether presenting to existing or prospective clients, or your team. In any sense, communication is key.

People around a table contributing to a meeting

Writing Skills

Leading on from communication skills are writing skills. Writing engaging content for your clients is at the heart of what PR professionals do. Writing comes in all sorts of guises, from white papers, op-eds, by-liners and thought leadership pieces to blogs and press releases. It’s important that you know your audience so that you can adapt and target your writing accordingly. While the writing itself is important, it’s also vital that there is a strategy behind the content.

Media Relations/Sales Skills

Media Relations forms the backbone of PR skills and further highlights the need for excellent communication skills. Being able to build strong relationships with journalists, selling in a good story and engaging well with the media in a crisis is crucial. In an ever-changing landscape, these traditional PR skills are still a requisite. If you have the expertise and knowledge to understand how journalists operate, no matter the medium, it will result in better outcomes and relationships. Having an extensive network and the power of persuasion are major tools for succeeding in PR.

Management Skills

At Boyce, we predominantly work with PR agencies, meaning that candidates we place have to manage their time effectively across multiple clients. Therefore, excellent management skills are a must; prioritising and delegating tasks so that each client feels they are getting the best service, and feel like an extension of your team. As you become more senior within PR, managing junior staff members become another part of the role. Training, supporting, mentoring and leading by example will enable you to build a strong team beneath you.

Red clock placed on a keyboard

Strategy & Creativity

Successful PR professionals know that strategy and creativity should come hand in hand. Being a strategic thinker who understands how to develop and oversee the execution of high quality, multidisciplinary communications programmes while maintaining a creative and idea-driven approach will help you succeed in PR. Being intellectually ambitious and a rigorous thinker while also encompassing a creative flair is all part of the PR role.

What else…?

While these core skills are an important part of succeeding in PR, many other elements also play a part. A common misconception is that you only need to master the content and media relations skills necessary to support a client’s business. However, it’s also vital that you learn the fundamentals of that business. Having a good level of technical understanding of the sector your clients work in, and a natural curiosity for what they do is essential. Similarly, while strong communications skills are a pre-requisite, an ability to go above and beyond and become a trusted advisor and counsel to clients will help you carve out a successful career in PR.

When it comes to more senior candidate’s attitude is everything. Showing a passion and excitement for what you do, being willing to get stuck in, and seeking out new business is pivotal.