10 requisite traits for PR pros

It’s a rough and tumble world out there. Do you have the goods to rise in the industry?

The world of public relations isn’t for everyone.

Becoming a successful PR pro isn’t easy. The profession can be difficult and demanding, but also extremely rewarding. Figuring out how to be successful in public relations requires a unique mix of creativity, accuracy, critical thinking, powerful tools and more.

If you’re still weighing how to do good PR, here are 10 must-have qualities for communications professionals:

1. You are a strong writer.

The written word still dominates the public relations industry.

A great PR pro is familiar with the fundamental rules of grammar and AP Style. However, it isn’t enough to just have mastered the fundamentals of great writing; a good PR professional is also a compelling storyteller that can craft a tale that will draw in readers.

2. You’re always prepared.

An excellent PR pro is always on the lookout for new opportunities and ready to strike when they appear.

Keep business cards and your smartphone handy—you never know when you’ll need to take notes or meet a potential client.

3. You have a basic understanding of SEO.

Online earned media has a huge impact on a brand’s search engine optimization and keyword rankings.

Implementing SEO best practices in your content can help extend the reach of your message and boost your brand’s online authority.

4. You are detail oriented.

When it comes to PR, making sure all materials are accurate, up-to-date and factual, while still telling an exciting story about your organization or client is a must.

A successful PR pro triple-checks the facts and makes sure all sources are credible.

5. You meet deadlines.

Journalists are always (always!) on deadline. Make sure to turn in materials on time and respond as quickly as possible to requests from reporters.

By helping a journalist to meet their deadline, you can forge a relationship that will benefit both parties well into the future.

6. You know how to research.

A quality PR pro knows how to do their homework.

Not only will an investigative mind help you to craft compelling content, it will also help you to determine the best media outlets and journalists to pitch.

7. You love to learn.

Great PR professionals consume news daily to stay abreast of trends.

Make time each week to spend a few hours reading, watching or doing some social listening to see what’s trending among your target audience. If possible, attend industry conferences to stay up to date on news and best practices in the PR industry itself.

This list of the top 25 must-read PR blogs is a great place to start.

8. You rock on social media.

In today’s digital landscape, consumers have unprecedented access to brands via social networks.

A great PR professional knows how to navigate social media to increase exposure of their brand or client among a target audience.

However, a word of caution: social media gives consumers a place to directly and easily air their grievances with a brand. Successful PR pros must be ready to handle a backlash and address concerns within a reasonable amount of time.

9. You are resourceful.

The world of PR has its challenges.

From crisis management to finding a creative way to pitch a product launch, the day-to-day job requires critical thinking.

Coming up with creative solutions to new problems each and every day is what makes a great PR pro.

10. you have self-discipline.

Sometimes being a great PR pro means wearing multiple hats at any given time.

Figure out early on how to prioritize tasks to best manage your time and your workload. Your clients, coworkers and journalist collaborators with will thank you later.

What character traits would you add to the list, PR Daily readers?

Jessica Lawlor is the features editor for the Muck Rack blog and handles PR and social media for Muck Rack. A version of this article originally appeared on Muck Rack, a service that enables you to find journalists to pitch, build media lists, get press alerts and create coverage reports with social media data.

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