The proverbial public relations practitioner must be in tip top form with an array of skills and qualities if they are to navigate this very challenging and ever growing economy. Budgets are being cut, staff lay offs are more common now and some companies are even ditching Communications departments in favor of others. This means that the officer on the job must have the ability to learn and work fast but smart. Here are some of the unorthodox public relations skills which every practitioner cannot afford to do without:
Navigating the Digital stratesphere.
Digital media has come and it is clearly here to stay. From Facebook to Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and lots more, every company must have a good online presence if they are to handle their online following and manage their reputation. Stiff competition has forced some institutions to open up accounts on every channel because they believe that customers must be connected through every possible manner there is. Worse still is that potential crises can erupt on digital media if not well managed. Like a baby that needs constant attention, online users require constant updates in order to keep them happy and engaged.
Sadly, research does not play a very important role in public relations campaign planning, studies have revealed. Not only practitioners believe that the process is hard and time consuming, but Managers believe that research will not add any value to PR planning, which is not necessarily the case. Research can help provide useful insights into what your competitors are doing while also showcasing what your customers think of you. At the same time, there is no other known way of proving that your campaign actually worked.
While this maybe obvious to most, networks are getting even more crucial in this business. Networks can help build events, get press coverage, get good publicity, good media buying and more. A practitioner who has very little or no networks is in trouble because people must cover your events to get the narrative going. Networking can also help avail you with sponsorship opportunities which will not just appear at your door step. Media relations falls under this docket as well.
An eye for detail.
This very last skillset relates to the ability to manage and ensure that everything that is done for your clients is as they expect it to be. The t-shirts must be the right color shade, press releases must be well written whilst capturing the correct details, event organziers must be on standby at the event, press people must come to the event on time and etc. A sloppy or disorganized cannot survive doing this because one way or the other, something will end up falling out of place.
So while writing and excellent communication skills may be some of the most required and talked about skills needed to become a good practitioner, there is alot more that may be required in the field. Having a good story with no editor to put in a newspaper is not helpful after all.