Have you ever wondered what specific skills you need to succeed in PR today? You don’t have to worry. A study conducted by University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Public Relations in conjunction with the Holmes Report and captured in the first ever “Global Communication Report 2016” has identified eight of them.
Other collaborators in the project were the Institute for Public Relations, the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), The PR Council, The Worldcom PR Group, Capstone Hill Search and Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). When you consider the weight of these organizations in the PR firmament you would agree that the findings of the study drips with authority and should not be treated with kid gloves.
The Global Communication Report 2016 was launched in April 2016. It was based on a comprehensive survey of more than 1,000 senior PR executives across the world. Eight skills scored above 50%, emerging the hottest skills PR practitioners need to excel in goal achievement in the next five years whether working in a PR agency or in a PR department.
WHY SOME SKILLS ARE HOTTER THAN OTHERS
Why are some skills hotter than others? The simple answer is: demand. According to the Global Communications Report 2016, Corporate Communications executives around the world believe that both they and their PR agency partners will be expected to deliver more strategy, more content, more channels, more creativity and more measurement over the next five years.
KEY LESSONS FOR PR PRACTITIONERS
- The good old written and verbal communication skills are very much relevant in PR now, and will be in very many years to come. Their demand in the profession won’t go away. Therefore cultivate them.
- Strategic Management and other business skills have been identified in previous researches as what it takes for PR people to secure a seat in the top management roundtable of any organization. It behoves on every PR person who wants to influence organizational decisions to develop these skills.
- Media Relations is not dead. Here are the reasons: One, traditional newsrooms and newspaper circulation figures may be shrinking, but they still remain the most credible sources of news as several
researches have shown. And that is not changing anytime soon.
Two, nowadays, the term media does not refer to the traditional ones alone. Journalists and other social influencers now own blogs and other news portals on the internet. What is new now is that PR people must include bloggers and other digital influencers in their media lists if they are to effectively reach out to their targets. Mass media is now expanded.
- Digital communication technologies are becoming the most powerful PR communication tools today. Successful PR campaigns depend on them, especially when millennials are targeted. Embracing and keeping up with their developments is a must for every PR professional.
Change is the only constant thing in every aspect of life, including PR. We should expect new PR skills to evolve and some old skills to rise or wane in importance as times change. What PR practitioners must do is to move with the times. That is the only key to survival and growth.
- Vitus Ijeoma is the CEO of Deepwater Communications, an Abuja-based PR Research and Consulting firm.