A mix of skills—new and old—that PR pros must master

PR pros must adapt to new tools and trends, but some tactics never go out of style. Here are four skills every PR pro should cultivate.

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The role of a PR professional has expanded into so many areas—digital, social media, marketing—that it’s hard to know what skills are required to do this multifaceted and wide-ranging job.

I recently caught up with PR consultant Michael Smart who shared four essential skills—two old and two new—that all PR pros must have to succeed today.

How many can you check off your list?

Timeless skills

1. The ability to write a simple declarative sentence will never become outdated.

To advance ideas and pitch stories, it is critical that you hone your writing skills.

Clarity and brevity are key when reaching out to journalists. Does the lightbulb go on when they read your prose? Can they understand exactly what you’re trying to convey and why it’s important? Will they care?

Many journalists get 400 emails a day, so to pierce the noise you must make your case with a few well-worded sentences. Reporters are writers and particularly critical of the prose they receive. If it’s grammatically incorrect, unconvincing or inaccurate, your credibility as a professional will be questioned.

2. Always identify and understand your key audiences.

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