The Skills You Need To Succeed as a Public Relations Manager
Being a PR manager isn’t just swanning through opening night parties with a socials photographer at your heels as you pull out each noteworthy guest for a red carpet pic. Well, that’s part of it. But there is a lot more to working as a Public Relations Manager than parties, pictures and press events.
What is a Public Relations Manager?
A Public Relations Manager is generally an outside contractor to their clients. They might run their own PR and media firm, or they may work for one. They take on clients and work closely with the marketing department to achieve broader brand goals, direct public opinion and generate positive press.
Public Relations Managers are responsible for maintaining and curating the public image of their client. In the age of cancel culture and shifting social landscapes, it’s a challenging and rewarding career path.
What do you need to become a Public Relations Manager and how do you know if it’s the right career for you? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. We’re going to run through all the skills you’ll need to succeed as a Public Relations Manager.
Arguably one of the most important skills you’ll need to succeed in PR is relationship building. This might sound like a soft-skill but the reality is you’ll need it to work in PR. Being confident, building professional networks and establishing strong professional relationships are crucial skills for PR.
There will be nothing as important in this field than your professional integrity. In public relations your reputation is everything. You have to be truthful while still finding a positive spin. This is the magic that Public Relations Managers can do when they are good at their job. Maintaining your core values and working with clients that represent those values will make this easier.
Gift of the Gab
It should come as no surprise that being a good talker is crucial to public relations. In this job you’ll trade on your charm and charisma as much as your other skills.
It’s important to be confident and know how to keep the flow happening in conversations while also subtly laying the ground work for future projects.
That might be relationship building to organise partnerships with your client or planting the seed with a journalist to cover an upcoming launch of your client’s work.
In short, you’ll need to be ‘on’ all the time.
Attention to Detail
Working in public relations you’ll need to be detail oriented. There are so many moving parts to a launch event or a press conference. That’s why you need to know everything that is happening and you’ll need to notice each small shift or change and anticipate what should be done to manage it.
Be a scribe
You’ll need exceptional written communication skills to work as a Public Relations Manager. There is a lot more writing in this role than you might think.
From captions in your client’s social media to their bio and press packet and with every press release you’ll be writing, you’ll have to change styles and tone to fit with what’s needed.
Writing makes up a large component of your daily tasks so being a bit of a wordsmith will help.
At this point you may have already realized that organisational skills are going to be highly coveted in the field of PR. On any given day you could be managing multiple clients, events, interviews, photo shoots and administrative work.
You’ll need to have exceptional organisational skills, with to do lists that put Lesley Knope to shame.
Adapt to Change
Part of the reason why you’ll need to be hyper organised is because when things don’t go to plan you’ll need to have a plan B, C and D ready to go.
As a Public Relations Manager you need to be ready to adapt to changes as they occur. Often there won’t be a second chance to get the photographer, or journalist to come back when the issue is fixed. You’ll need to be ready to adapt the plan and to get the outcome you need.
Social Media Savvy
Social Media skills are important in PR because you are responsible for the client’s public image and the curation of the brand they have.
You’ll need to stay on top of social media trends, understand social media marketing and the goals of this strategy for your client.
Writing captions, deciding on content, directing the aesthetic can all be a part of your role as Public Relations Manager.
Presentation and Public Speaking Skills
While you’re not the story as a Public Relations Manager, you may have to introduce the story. This means having great public speaking skills to get up there and hype up an audience before the client comes out to deliver a speech. It can also mean having to stall if your client is not on time to the event.
You’ll also have to deliver presentations on the success of campaigns and on potential contracts or partnerships. This means having exceptional presentation skills and great public speaking skills.
Be a lifelong learner
If you want to get into PR or marketing and communications in general, you’ll need to be committed to constantly upskilling.
Unlike other professional fields which may stay mostly the same or only require a yearly update on your skills, public relations is an area where you’ll need to be constantly upgrading your skills and gaining new skills as they become important to the field.
Someone starting out in PR 15 years ago didn’t need to know about social media because it didn’t exist. Now it would make up a large part of their daily work activities. This is a field where constant study and keen eye for trends is very important to maintaining and leveling up your skills.
How do you become a Public Relations Manager?
To get started in this challenging and exciting field why not check out our Diploma of Marketing and Communications. The course can be completed online through self-paced, trainer supported study. You can start anytime and study from anywhere in Australia.
If you’d like to know more about getting into this varied and interesting field, have a chat with one of our friendly course advisors.