Surviving an Ever-Evolving Field
By Cynthia Hurtado, Intern
It’s no secret that the public relations field has been changing throughout the years. With the rise of social media and digital content, the industry has gone through a major shift. No longer are public relations professionals strictly focused on targeting traditional media to get out a message for a client. Instead of organizing a press conference for an announcement or launch, Twitter chats are being organized to include everyone from industry insiders to your average consumer. There are a few things that have remained the same in the field however, like the skill set and characteristics a public relations professional possesses. Despite the shift in the field, these traits continue to dominate.
Good Writing Skills
If there is one thing that I’ve learned throughout my studies and internships it’s that good writing is always key in this field. In a world where we constantly communicate with 140 characters or less, it is important to be able to comfortably write a professional email, a press release, blog or whatever else needed by your client.
Building relationships is a given. From early public relations (think Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays) to today, it’s still an essential skill to have. The relationships we build with the media are some of the most important relationships we have as professionals. Transparency and honesty is always a good practice when building these relationships. One minor slip and your relationship can be over with, along with the entity which the journalist represents.
Diligence is defined as “careful and persistent work or effort.” Any public relations professional can tell you that pitching alone takes a lot of work, time and effort. From the initial drafting of the pitch to the end result, it takes persistence to get your message where you want it to be.
Timeliness and Attention to Detail
Deadlines, deadlines and more deadlines. One thing that hasn’t changed much in the field is the fact that we are constantly faced with deadlines. Whether from a client or journalist, it just never ends. Good time management and timeliness is not only important, it’s a necessity. Attention to detail goes hand-in-hand with this because you simply don’t want to submit the wrong information and risk possibly ruining a relationship with a journalist or worse, your audience.
One thing we can all agree on is that though the public relations field has been changing in the past few years, these four skills have managed to stay relevant to the field regardless of the digital shift.