Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Looking to enhance your PR skill set?

Submitted by: Angela Walschinski, Account Assistant, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

There is no doubt that public relations has changed significantly within the last few years and the way in which we communicate is evolving. It’s hard to deny the importance of tweeting, blogging and the impact online conversations can have on a business’ brand. However, even with the growing popularity of social media, we can’t forget the importance of our roots. The skills and attributes of traditional media are still just as valuable as they’ve ever been in successfully communicating a message. For example, in today’s public relations world, try launching something using social media alone. You’ll quickly notice the gap that traditional media can leave if it’s lacking and vice versa.

So, it’s a combination of understanding and utilizing a combination of PR tools that will help you grow in your role as a public relations professional. As a recent college graduate who is rather new to the public relations field, I wanted to provide some insight into the skills that not only future college graduates should have, but skills that all public relations professionals should have.
Entry-level public relations professionals still need to be proficient at writing, communicating, paying close attention to detail and being proactive. They also need to be business savvy, a team player, understand basic media relations and, above all, have a good work ethic.

With the recent development of social media there are new skills that public relations professionals should have related to the Web. Whether you’ve worked in public relations for years or if you’re just entering your career, here are three skills all PR professionals must learn and use:
  • Social networking platforms – Having a basic understanding of the leading social media tools and how to engage in them is key to building a social media profile for yourself. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, take the time to review and learn the tools and determine which one(s) best fits your needs.

  • Social Media Releases (SMR) – This is a spinoff of the traditional media release and a SMR allows you to create an interactive experience with your message. You can include photos, audio and video, Web links and logos to compliment your information.

  • Blogging – You don’t necessarily have to have one, but having an understanding of the importance of blogs and how they can be used is key.

These are my thoughts on the skills that should be incorporated into a public relations professional’s skill set, both new and old, what would you add?

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