The 5 characteristics of successful PR pros

Public Relations is one of the growth industries in Ireland and around the world. More and more graduate talent is entering the industry; more and more journalists are making the crossover to PR as a career choice. Working in PR never used to be particularly fashionable, but right now it’s where a lot of people want to be.

This year Cullen Communications celebrates 30 years in business; three decades of recruiting and developing people to work with a portfolio of wonderful clients that includes Ford, Continental Tyres, Office Depot, National Newspapers of Ireland, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and many others. We know what it takes, in other words, to be a successful PR practitioner.

And so, if you think a career in PR might be the thing for you, here’s our top five characteristics of a successful PR pro.

An ability to communicate… brilliantly

PR is all about communications, so it stands to reason that the best PR people are brilliant communicators. “In public relations, writing is everything,” says the industry bible PR Week and it’s true, to cut it in PR your content-creating skills need to be way better than average whether you’re writing a 5000-word client report or a 140-character tweet. Your spoken communications also need to be superb – we are an industry of talkers – as well as your presentation skills and even your visual literacy.

An insatiable curiosity

When a company takes on a PR agency, there is usually a specific brief based on a set of targets and objectives. What is rarely in the brief is the sort of ‘eyes and ears’ service that the best PR firms provide. At Cullen Communications we call it ‘PR Plus’, a process by which we are constantly thinking about our clients, scanning the market for news and developments of interest, alert to any opportunity that we can turn into a PR win. This requires the sort of curiosity that brought about the demise of the proverbial cat: have you got the eyes and ears for PR?

An appetite for learning

There once was a time when press releases were cranked out on typewriters, then photocopied and posted – posted! – to news departments. PR has changed a bit since those days, and the industry continues to change at an incredible rate. Today’s PR professional must be willing to absorb all kinds of new information and skills in order to succeed in the evolving media landscape.

An understanding of the media

Within that changing landscape, traditional media still has an important role to play and media relations skills are a vital tool for any PR practitioner. An  effective media relations campaign can generate third party endorsement via media mentions and this in turn can add immense value to any brand. Knowing how the media works, and knowing how to work the media, will always be important - as important as understanding clients' needs.

A creative streak

PR is often described as ‘hard working’ and it’s true, a lot of what we do is about effort – making the calls, following up, networking, meeting, pitching, pushing, promoting. There’s plenty of leg-work in this business, but there’s also a need for bright, brilliant strategic ideas – and there always will be. Creativity is the bedrock on which all successful PR campaigns are founded and it’s a trait shared by all successful PR professionals, young and old.

Do you have these five qualities? If so, we’d like to hear from you. Get in touch and we’ll arrange for you to drop in for a cup of coffee some time!

Topics: Blog, Our News, PR, Public, Relations, tips

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