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5 characteristics for a career in PR

By Comit, Friday, 13th February 2015 | 0 comments
Filed under: Social Media, Digital Marketing, Public Relations, Content Marketing.

PR offers great opportunities to build a truly exciting, fast moving and dynamic career, but before you go off and book yourself onto the next Public Relations Masters programme, you might take a minute to consider if you REALLY have the right ‘stuff’ for a great career in PR.

Here’s what we believe are the characteristics of successful PR people:

Passion: You need to have a passion for what you are doing and the products and brands you are representing. If you don’t understand and have a great interest in your subject, you are unlikely to be able to persuade the media to cover your story.

If you have a passion, you will be reading and digesting the relevant news that is forming opinions and is of the greatest current interest. This enables you to identify news and stories that are most likely to succeed in the media.

If your passion is technology, choose a career in tech PR. If it is business, consider corporate PR. If it is beauty, look to fashion. If you have a passion for your subject and work in this area, you will always love your career and thrive in it.

Focused: The most important question in PR is why: Why does your employer or client want to invest in PR? What value does the end customer receive from the product or service being promoted? You need to know the answers to these questions and always be driven by them

You also need to be the type of person who is very target oriented. You need to be very focused on communicating a consistent message creatively and relentlessly. Think of the focus on one of the world’s best PR people, Michael O’Leary. He knows the value of consistency and we all know what his airline has to offer as a value proposition.

Communications: So this seems like a no-brainer, but we are consistently surprised at the number of people who apply for a public relations job without knowing that you need to be a very strong communicator, both verbally and written. You don’t need a Pulitzer Prize, but you do need to be a solid writer with a keen interest in becoming a better writer. How do you do that? Best way is to read good writing, and focus on creating engaging and factual content.

Multi-tasking: Do you use a diary, a smart organiser, or your Outlook calendar?  Whatever you use, you need to be able to juggle, because a career in PR – especially in an agency – is fast moving and diverse.  New deadlines emerge every day. One campaign finishes, the next starts.  You often need to manage many contacts, relationships and a plethora of projects all at once. Sometimes you feel like you need octopus arms to juggle all the balls.  It is actually not that hard, but you do need to be organised and ensure that you have a system which allows you to keep up to pace with the fast moving PR and media landscape.

Relationship building: The best relationship builders love people and have a genuine interest in their lives and what they do.  They are good listeners and conversationalists with a knack for building bridges between people. NOTE: Despite some common misconceptions, the email has not yet supplanted the personal relationship…just yet!

For us, passion and focus are the number one and two characteristics and it is hard to choose between them. I am sure we have missed some, and that is the challenge with lists like this. What do you suggest? What do you think is most important for a great career in PR?

We're hiring to expand our PR team. Check out our careers page and see if you fit the bill!

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