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The Top 5 Intangible Skills PR Pros Need

We often talk about the hard skills that public relations professionals need to possess – the ability to write a press release, regurgitate AP style, and contact a journalist to get a story placed. But what are the top 5 intangible, hard to define skills that make a PR pro great?

1.     Curiosity – PR is an old field with many best practices. But every day we hear about a PR pro who thought outside the box, tried a new tactic, or revamped an old PR trick – to astonishing results. Take social media for example. PR pros are only just beginning to tap into the wonders of this all new PR-ready platform. The curious are the ones who never stop trying new things, a skill that will serve you well in public relations.

2.     Storytelling Ability – Journalist writing, the kind necessary to write a proper news release, can be taught (thanks, AP Stylebook.) But the ability to identify a compelling story and then retell it in a way that compels others is a gift that the best PR pros possess.

3.     The Gift of Gab – Whether its pitching a story clearly and concisely to a reporter or apologizing to the public for a corporate crisis, the best public relations pros are poised, confident and precise of speech. People who genuinely like other people tend to be the best speakers. While the gift of gab is intangible, it can be practiced, so if you feel like your public speaking is lacking, take a class or join a group like Toastmasters.

4.     Personal Networking –Public relations pros know a lot of people in varying roles – VIPs, CEO’s, co-workers, journalists, and bloggers, just to name a few. And they need to be able to interact professional and positively with everyone they meet. Networking is one of those skills where “the more you give, the more you get.” The more you are genuinely interested in meeting with and helping other people, the more people will be interested in meeting with and helping you.

5.     Business Sense – Why would this story about the boy who used your product to win the local science fair mean better PR for your company than that story about the brand new widget your scientists invented? As a PR pro, you need to understand what it takes to grow your company’s or client’s stature, and run with it. PR is an incredibly creative field, but without business acumen to back it up, a PR pro may run aground against cold, hard reality.

If you’re in the market for a PR job, check your skills against this list. Do you have what it takes?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 8 Shocking Secrets Press Release Distribution Firms Don’t Want You to Know here:

10 Responses

  1. aleeshacpr says:

    RT @ereleases: The Top 5 Intangible Skills PR Pros Need… #pr #prpros

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bill Stoller, SarahSkerik, Amanda Walsh, Brad, DowJonesInsight and others. DowJonesInsight said: Very true! RT @publicityguru: The Top 5 Intangible Skills PR Pros Need […]

  3. Arlene says:

    This is refreshing tips for professionals and important tips for those who just don’t understand the big PR picture. Thank you.

  4. Good list – all necessary, but what’s missing are LISTENING skills! In order to tell the story, you must first know the story. Curiosity means asking questions – and listening to the answer.

    Any salesperson worth his/her keep will tell you that the more you let your prospect speak, the more vital information you’ll get to close the deal.

    Us PR folks need to do that too. Listening means paying attention, not just politely waiting for our turn to speak. That’s why we get two ears and only one mouth! 🙂

  5. Pat Smith says:

    Other important elements…..The technical knowledge/integrity behind the storytelling as well as the research about the audience you are targeting.

  6. Couldn’t agree more, especially the often overlooked intellectual curiosity. BUT would also add two more: In this era of social media – a point of view. And you can’t get by without empathy either.

  7. Julie_Lim says:

    RT @ereleases: The Top 5 Intangible Skills PR Pros Need… #pr #prpros

  8. […] the column, “The Top 5 Intangible Skills Every PR Pro Needs” Kennedy outlines the most commonly-held traits shared by successful public relations professionals, […]

  9. […] recently read an article written by Mickie Kennedy (@prwork), founder of eReleases, about “The Top 5 Intangible Skills PR Pros Need”. In the article, he breaks down those five elements into real-world skills. He doesn’t use PR […]

  10. […] these lists to check how you yourself score. Perhaps 2011 could be the year to extend your skills. Here’s a new PR skills list we stumbled across […]

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