Victoria Song, a consumer tech reporter at Gizmodo, joined us on the Coffee with a…
Skills are the lifeblood of being a professional. You must know them, master them, embody them, and teach them. Eventually, after hard work and years of training, you can become an expert and it’s important to know this does NOT happen overnight.
There are different types of skills as well. Soft skills, for example, are more subjective and include things like your personality traits, mannerisms, and attitude. Hard skills, on the other hand, are more objective and ability-based such as crafting a strong pitch or being very good at researching journalists and their work.
In this post, we took to Twitter to ask our network of PRos what skills they identify with most and feel are the most underrated. See what these professionals had to say below.
Jim Boyle, along with Cam McMillan agree:
— Jim Boyle (@James_A_Boyle) March 3, 2021
Being a good listener is a valuable skill in life and in work. Paying close attention to clients, listening to public discourse, heck even listening to what journalists are saying is super important. To work in PR, means you must be a good listener.
Alastair Goldfisher, Venture Capital Editor, chimes in with his journalistic perspective:
Understanding what a journalist wants for their publication
— Alastair Goldfisher (@agoldfisher) March 3, 2021
As I mentioned above, listening to journalists rather than beating by your own drum has massive long term benefits. Sometimes a simple introduction about yourself and a very simple question like, “What are you working on?”, can yield more benefits than sending a cold pitch.
Janel Forsythe says:
The ability to take good notes.
— Janel Forsythe (@JLF_comms) March 3, 2021
This goes back to listening for sure but also takes into account attentiveness. One wrong note was taken or miscommunication during a meeting could result in a crisis. Being attentive and accurately documenting notes (just like you did in school) helps bring clarity to everyone who is involved. Imagine having to debrief a team member who didn’t attend a meeting only to find all the important information is missing!
For Tamara Sykes, it’s all about these two skills:
— Tamara (she/her) (@PostaliTamara) March 2, 2021
When it comes to pitching, being resilient is a must. Unfortunately, you’re going to hear “no” a lot more than you’re going to hear “yes” when pitching journalists. Or, you might not hear anything at all. Emotional intelligence is also an ability that must be part of your kit. It’s key to personal and professional success.
Domenica D’Ottavio, from Fractl, has 4 solid skills to embody:
— Domenica D’Ottavio (@heydomenica) March 2, 2021
All of these are equally important and vital to the success and growth of any PR professional. Bonus: her team at Fractl has a ton of valuable resources for media relations. One of which we recently featured on The TypeBar, 7 Resources for Media Relations.
Courtney Lukitsch, CCO and Founder of Gotham PR, says:
Excellent writing skills for web, digital, releases, social — plus cases studies, awards and white papers. All more important than ever for earned media.
— Courtney Lukitsch (@Gothamist1) March 3, 2021
Being a good writer is a foundational skill that all PR professionals must have. From writing press releases to emails, writing is the main component of every public relations pro.
Cedric F. Brown says this skill is underrated:
Backing up the value of your work with metrics.
— Cedric F. Brown (@abrothanamedCed) March 2, 2021
In a digital world, metrics and tracking success are the backbones of proving value to key stakeholders and clients. PR professionals need to be able to interpret and accurately track campaign performance in order to stay relevant and useful for clients and companies.
Rohan Hutchings says:
1. Read the room – are they into what you are saying. 2. Know when to speak and when to listen. 3. Know the business goals and strategies of your clients inside-out
— Rohan Hutchings (@rohutch) March 2, 2021
He makes a good point and one that many folks agreed with. Reading the room takes preciseness and paying close attention. There’s nothing worse than leaving a client unhappy because you did something that wasn’t warranted.
Regan Farley says this skill is important:
— 🟣Regan Farley| Publicist (@raethepublicist) March 2, 2021
And she’s absolutely right! This can apply to both your internal success at a company as well as your external success working in media relations.
To round out this list, we hear from Ronnika A. McFail:
— Ronnika A. McFall (@RonnikaMcFall) March 2, 2021
A great piece of advice I was given by my co-founder, Beck Bamberger was, “Jered, just know that life and work only get busier as you progress.” This is 100% true, not only from personal experience but also from seeing how much PR pros have to do on a daily basis. One tactic I live by is blocking time out of my calendar for work, conversations, and personal time. Yes, you might think I’m crazy but this is the best way I’ve found to integrate work with life in a seamless way.
By no means was this inclusive of all the responses either. Over 53 PR pros, communications, and marketers shared which skills they think are the most underrated. What would you add to the list?
For more weekly Twitter questions, check out my Twitter page every Tuesday and chime in with your answers! Also, take a moment to follow OnePitch on Twitter where we share even more tips, tricks, and industry advice to enable you to pitch more effectively.