The start of the new year is an excellent time for PR teams to reflect on their abilities, needs and competencies for the coming months. What worked well? What needs improvement? Here are vital skills for PR people to assess and enhance in 2023.
It’s all about….communication
PR is a part of communications, but ironically, we don’t always communicate well with one another within a team. Clear and cogent communication among team members ensures that every member knows their task and the deadline. Open channels for colleagues avoids confusion and can boost team morale. We work more effectively together when we share the same definition of success, and open expression of ideas helps build trust. After all, a winning idea can come from anyone.
These principles apply even more to client communications. Some team members may assume that clients understand what goes on behind the scenes and save formal emails for results reporting or logistics, but it’s important to let clients know what we’re thinking and planning even when we don’t have tangible progress to report.
Writing still matters
Content skills go hand-in-hand with communications, but even in the video age, coherent and persuasive writing is at the top of the list. Effective writing strengthens media pitches, powers sales presentations, and is often the basis for successful thought leadership. When writing, it is important to keep the specific campaign objective at the forefront. This can help to be sure key messages are being conveyed and you aren’t steering away from the topic at hand. Another way to be sure you are writing effectively is to create an outline of what you plan to write. This framework will help guide you in the right direction while writing and will ensure all points are made. Something to keep in mind while writing is that you won’t get it perfect on the first draft. It is important to realize that reworking the material and going in and making multiple edits is necessary for success. Keeping these tips and skills in mind will help you grow as a writer each day.
Research is foundational
Research skills are the unsung heroes of good public relations. The right research, framed correctly, can make the difference between a winning business presentation and an also-ran. It’s also the underpinning of most successful media story pitches. And needless to say, in-depth knowledge of a business category is foundational to a good relationship and successful PR program. In a real-world situation where budget decisions are being made, the right data is powerful. It will place your team in the position to answer unexpected questions and generate confidence in our approach.
Relationships will make your career
Public relations isn’t only about relationships, but they matter. A lot. Those who success have probably build their career on a professional network. This translates to client relationships, and, of course, colleagues can become clients and vice versa. You want to keep your network expanding over time. Then there are the all-important relationships with reporters. With an overflowing inbox, any journalist is more likely to click on a note from someone with whom they feel a connection. Putting yourself out there will pay off in the long run.
Raise your voice
Speaking in front of strangers can be challenging, but it’s an important PR skill. Some people are more easily persuaded by a verbal conversation than a written document. And in the post-COVID era, face-to-face meetings are making a comeback. Communicating confidence in your materials and recommendations is a clear asset in sales as well as program management. For those who struggle to speak up in meetings or express their ideas with confidence, it may help to plan their messaging in advance, just as we advise clients to do in media interviews. It’s also useful to practice, and the more you speak up and nail the points you want to make, the easier it becomes.