5 ways to sharpen your modern PR skills

19 May 2020 14:02

Public relations operations are a little different today than in the past, and failing to take the changes into account could harm your agency or department. Skills that were highly relevant only a few years ago could fail you now, and progress in the industry could be tied to your ability to evolve. You can improve your readiness to handle today's unique crises by adding updated skills to your repertoire.

Essential qualities

One concept to hold in mind while you update your daily routine and abilities is that the goals of PR have not changed. You still want to ensure your company is visible and its reputation holds up. Accomplishing these objectives in the fast, personality-driven world of modern media can be complicated. However, holding the goals in view should help you focus your efforts.

Below are five ways to enhance your skill set and more effectively establish your company or client's reputation.

  • Add social media to your repertoire: People in today's fast-paced media world do not like information vacuums. Press releases can seem slow and impersonal, and if these are your main way of disseminating facts, your brand may fade from view. PR Daily contributor Arik Hanson noted that modern PR pros should be comfortable going directly to the public via social media, using evergreen content to create a constant dialogue with the world at large.
  • Learn to refute fake news: The consequences of a fake story targeting a company you represent can be downright frightening, which is why PRWeek editor Frank Washkuch called on PR teams to become effective fact verifiers. A brand getting caught up in a misinformation-driven news cycle can be harmful to everyone involved. Your countermeasures must be strong and decisive, with crisis response tactics ready for deployment at any moment.
  • Become part of the team: Your role as a PR pro isn't to be a marketer - but it does involve working in close tandem with marketers. Consumers today expect companies to have consistent messages across all media. The Drum contributor Samuel Scott presented PR as one of the pillars of promotion alongside such priorities as direct marketing and search engine optimization. You should be ready to interact closely with team members in each of these other promotional roles.
  • Embrace multimedia: Whether you're pitching items to journalists or going directly to the public, pictures are worth the proverbial 1,000 words and video is even more valuable. Hanson noted that audio and video production skills are great abilities for modern PR pros to possess. Getting information out about your brand means considering the medium as well as the message, and multimedia makes a compelling case for your company.
  • Learn to read the signs: When you have impressive media intelligence and monitoring capabilities, combining tech and know-how, your ability to cope with a chaotic and fast-paced information landscape can improve appreciably. Stories can break anywhere today, at any time. From major news channels to social media, news that could help or hurt your brand may bubble up from any source. Knowing how to detect issues as they develop is a distinctly modern PR skill.

Time to learn

If you feel out of step with the fast, modern world of PR, it's not a disaster. Climbing back into a position of authority could simply amount to adding a few new skills to your repertoire. There are technologies that bring the uncontrollable news cycle into clearer view, and proficiency with them can help you excel.

Being a PR pro today means accepting that conditions will change. Fighting against the tide isn't likely to work - audiences won't change their information consumption habits just because you want them to. Learning and adapting are the ways to succeed.

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