Excellent writing and communication skills, a passion for your brand, and thick skin are all musts when working in PR. As the industry evolves and becomes increasingly competitive, there are a few less-obvious skills that you should develop.
Photography and Photoshop
Understanding what makes a good photo is crucial, whether you are pitching to journalists or you’ve been asked to create content for a client. Photoshop is a great tool for all PR professionals. Capturing and editing a photo of a press event or client speech or producing a short video will enable you to use it in your PR strategy to help tell the client’s story and communicate the message effectively.
Communication is becoming far more visual, and social media is completely changing the traditional landscape of PR. As PR professionals, we therefore have to take on new responsibilities. Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and YouTube are all photo-centric and can easily be applied to PR.
Understanding how the design process works—from brainstorming to the final product—will help in organizing events and creating invitations, brochures, presentations, and coverage reports.
You will often have to work with designers in order to create visual content for clients. Knowing how the process works will help you to fully explain your specifications to the designer. You don’t want to order 100 invitations for a press event and find out too late that they are not what the client wanted.
Additionally, being able to create infographics to showcase client research will help make a story newsworthy and, as a result, far more likely to get published online. Knowing some basic design terms and how to use InDesign will benefit you in the long run.
Handling money, designing budgets for campaigns, and managing client fees will all become part of the job as you ascend the PR ladder. You will be overseeing the budgets of multiple clients and having to meet targets continually.
Having an understanding of how the entire business is funded and how your team fits into the mix will be one of your daily tasks. Learning how to forecast the future, using industry trends and accounts, will be beneficial. It’s not the most glamorous aspect to the job, but it is essential for keeping the business going and your clients happy.
Jazz Chappell is pursuing a major in PR at Leeds Metropolitan University. She is also a contributing writer for Your Coffee Break, where a version of this story first appeared.