PR is not as clear-cut as people think. The role is dynamic and requires you to have various skills in order to be a success in the industry. This is because each company is different and there are many specialised types of PR you can go into.

For example, if you work for a PR company that focuses on video content, you might need to have some video editing skills, whereas if you work for a company who doesn’t, that skill would not be necessary.

Interested in a career in PR? Here are five FAQs answered:

QUESTION 1: What are the most important skills needed in PR?

The PR industry is ever-changing, which means that PR pros will need to change with the times. As the industry evolves, so should PR professionals' skill sets.

To keep up, every PR pro will need these vital skills:
  1. creating and editing video content
  2. creating compelling digital content
  3. understanding the analytics
  4. implementing SEO
  5. working with virtual teams
  6. building relationships with bloggers
Developing these skills will ensure that you can walk into the PR industry fully prepared and ready for the work that you will need to do. You always hear people say that you are never too old to learn new things; therefore, you need to keep in mind that upskilling will be beneficial for your career.

The best ways to upskill yourself is to:
  1. Do some online courses at Udemy relevant to marketing and PR.
  2. Ensure that you go to more events, where you can speak to people and do some social networking.
  3. Speak to other PR pros and ask them questions. You never know what you can learn from them.
  4. Get out of your comfort zone, and try new and creative strategies to promote your client's content.
Because the industry is ever-changing, it is best to change and evolve with it or risk being left behind.

QUESTION 2: What type of work do PR people do?

In the PR industry, you will never be bored with your work because there is such a wide variety of duties that needs to be fulfilled.

According to Career Junction, some of these duties include:
  • being the main contact between your client and the media
  • creating content for your clients, including press releases, writing speeches and editing newsletters
  • running campaigns for your clients, as well as hosting and attending events
These won’t be your only responsibilities, as your duties may vary depending on the company, brand or even the clients. The most important thing to take into consideration is listening to what your client wants and giving it to them.

The Public Relations Society of America came to a definition of what a PR pro actually does: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their publics.” And that is where a PR pro’s focus should be.

QUESTION 3: What qualifications are needed in order to work in PR?

If you want to become a PR professional, the good news is that you don’t actually have to get a degree. Although, many companies consider it a huge benefit if you have a degree in marketing because a lot of PR pros work with marketing content for their clients.

“Media no longer controls the conversation, consumers do,” says Adrian Miller, executive creative director at the Riverbed agency. He says that consumers don’t differentiate between marketing and PR; all they see is the work being done, they don’t really care who was responsible for completing the work. That is why having a marketing background can tremendously benefit your PR skills.

There are some companies that will require you to have a qualification from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. This institute offers different types of qualifications, so be sure to do a ton of research before you just pick the first option that you see.

QUESTION 4: How can PR be measured effectively?

When you want to show a client that you are able to deliver the results they want, the best way to convince them is with numbers to back it up. Metrics prove that you know what you are doing — it is all about getting those hard-earned results!

Previously, most PR practitioners relied on AVE to give them the metrics they were looking for. However, recently it was discovered that this metric might not be the best choice — not only because it has been used for more than a century, but also because, instead of keeping to the basic formula, people started making it more complicated.

Some people make things really complicated by messing with this basic AVE calculation. Many people add in an extra number into that basic formula to support the idea that PR is more valuable than paid advertising,” says Aisling McCarthy in a previous media update article.

“Often, AVE figures are much higher than any PR budget and they make PR people look really good,” says Claire O’Sullivan in an article for PR Week.

This debate leads to people understanding that AVE might not be an accurate metric to use. Leaving them with the question: How do we measure the success of PR now? Simple: PRs need to shift their focus to other ways of measuring their success.

These new metrics can include the following:
  1. Website referrals
  2. Mentions
  3. Message resonance
  4. Share of voice
Be sure to read about these points in-depth in our article, Measuring earned media: Four metrics to focus on.

QUESTION 5: Do PR pros rely on journalists often?

PR pros need to send press releases to publishing companies to help promote their client’s brands, messages or events. Some of these pieces of content are time-sensitive, which means that it needs to be published before a certain time to ensure that it will still be relevant.

This means that when a PR pro works with this type of content on a daily basis, they will be very dependent on their media contacts, including journalists, to publish it on time. They will have to follow up and make sure the content is displayed correctly on the site.

Many people might think that all PR pros do is send press releases to journalists and keep bugging them until it has been published — but this is simply not true. PR professionals have a lot of other responsibilities meaning that they don’t solely rely on the journalist to get their client’s content out there.

Although they would like to have their client’s press releases published on a particular website, it is not all their job entails. As previously mentioned PR pros need many different skills to make it in the industry, which means that their focus is not on press releases alone.

With that said, a PR pros relationship with the media is important, as journalists help get clients’ messages out there. But it’s important to remember that their reliance is not on the journalist alone; these two professionals — the journalist and the PR pro — need to work together in order to accomplish their goals.

What are some other PR-related questions that you have? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Now that you know a bit more about what working in the PR industry is like, be sure to read about the Five characteristics that excellent PR pros have. This will ensure that you will be ready for anything the industry has to throw at you.
*Image courtesy of Pixabay