Given my experience, this blog largely caters to the mid-level public relations professional working in Public Relations firms. Like my colleague Amith Prabhu often remarks, professionals working in Public Relations firms are a unique group that has to manage expectations of three different stakeholders. Their own boss internally, their client and most often to the media they are engaging with. Hence, to be a successful communications consultant at a mid-level, one must possess following qualities/skills:
While talking about skills that are required to be a good Public Relations professional, one often talks about relationship building. But it is equally important to know how to manage those relationships. One may easily build a relationship with a client or media but it is also crucial to maintain that rapport. As a communications consultant you constantly need to be in touch in smart ways to be successful.
Being a Public Relations expert means handling a lot of tasks at hand at one time. A Public Relations professional does not only juggle with several stakeholders, but also handles numerous tasks like content creation, time co-ordination, client meeting, media meetings and also managing the time and efficiency of their team members. To stay level-headed, a public relations professional needs to prioritise his/her tasks under the following four categories (a) urgent and important (b) urgent and not-important) (c) not urgent and important and (d) not urgent and not important. If you can successfully put your tasks under these categories a lot of your time management issues are resolved. The trick is in using calendars and a To Do List that has serial numbers and time attached to each activity.
Public Relations professionals are stuck in the rut of managing and juggling their various daily activities, most often. This results, in them working only on opportunities that come their way and not trying anything ‘new’. A mid-level Public Relations professional must not forget to be proactive on a constant basis and also instil the same quality among the junior members of their team. They should be able to organise and function in a manner that is smooth, active and ensures fruitful results.
You cannot be a quality communications expert if you do not possess excellent communication skills. A mid-level Public Relations professional should not only know how to write well but should also focus on his verbal communication. The job of a Public Relations professional revolves around expressing their ideas and opinions to various people which is not possible if they do not have strong interactive qualities.
There are a lot of factors that make a Public Relations professional a trusted adviser. He/she should be ethical, intelligent, diligent and also have an eye for detail. The job of a Public Relations professional is a tricky one. Sometimes they handle the most sensitive information about a company and having the above mentioned qualities help them become a trusted adviser in the right sense.
I have often mentioned in my previous blogs that our profession is evolving very-very fast. Hence it is very crucial for mid-level professionals to upskill themselves on a continuous basis. Due to advancement of technology there can be areas where your juniors may know more than you but the key is to ‘adapt’ to the change quickly. Mid-level professionals should have a knack to rapidly embrace technology and tools like Google analytics, SEO and others that are becoming important for a PR professional to apply while they are on the job.
This is arguably the most important skill or quality for a PR professional. For any task they have at hand ranging from initiating a conversation with the media to creating press releases to following up with various stakeholders basic common sense is a necessity. They should have a simple level of wisdom while making smallest decisions. A common example is checking the background of a journalist before picking up the phone and straightaway pitching your story.
– Radhika Nandwani
Radhika is the Corporate Communications Advisor at Dell’s Performance Analytics Group. She started her career in 2011, with one of the leading public relations firms of India – MSLGROUP, specialising in technology brands. The campaigns executed by her while at MSL, have won several public relations industry awards including SABRE and PR Week Asia. In her last role, she was the founding team member and the marketing communications manager at SCoRe. Radhika is an English graduate and holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communication. She loves reading and is passionate about gender equality, food and Bollywood. She can be reached at @RadhikaNandwani on Twitter and here on LinkedIn.