Top 5 Public Relations Skills You Should Master in 2021

Top 5 Public Relations Skills You Should Master in 2021

The top 5 public relations skills are writing strong headlines, relationship building, the gift of gab, business strategy and data & analytics.

By: Michael Brito

Category: Influencer Marketing

In this video, I talk about the top 5 public relations skills that must be mastered in order to be successful:

  1. Writing compelling headlines
  2. Relationship building
  3. Learning the Gift of Gab
  4. Understanding Business Strategy
  5. Data & Analytics

I used to think PR pros had it easy. But after several years of experience working side by side with several colleagues, I can say that no, working in public relations is not easy and in order to be successful, you must master these top 5 public relations skills. Enjoy the video and subscribe to my Youtube channel to be the notified when new videos are added.


I wanted to start this video with a quick story. About 15 years ago I worked for HP in the Imaging and Printing Group, where we sold printers to the enterprise, SMBs and consumers.

At that time I was a digital marketing manager and responsible for paid search. I had an annual budget of a few million dollars and I worked with Performics, which was an agency based in Chicago.

One year, we were planning for a product launch, I think it might have been for one of the All In One printers and we had these integrated marketing managers who were responsible for wrangling everyone together and coordinate these go-to-market planning – events, digital, PR, channels.

And in one meeting, we all presented our plans and talked about strategy, plans, execution and our KPIs. And for us, we had both financial and non-financial metrics. We were tracking clicks, sales though the HP store, conversations.

When the PR team presented their KPIs, I clearly remembering them saying “our main KPI will be measuring share of voice and increasing SOV by 15%”.

I walked out of that meeting thinking, “wow .. PR have an easy job”.

Fast forward almost 15 years later to my first week at Zeno. And I am in Chicago with a room of about 12 other people, and I didn’t know anyone. After about 5 minutes into the meeting, I clearly realized that I was the dumbest person in the room.

I say all this because working in public relations is not an easy job.

And I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about what’s needed to be successful, especially today, if you want to pursue a career in PR and have amazing public relations skills.

First, you have to be a good writer. And I am not talking about spelling, grammar or whether or not to put one space or two spaces after a period. I was taught two in elementary school and that’s how I do it.

That’s a given.

I am talking about using words that persuade and influence. Yes, you are going to be writing press releases early in your career.

I am talking about the ability to write headlines that drive action and a headlines is everything from the title of a blog post, headline for byline, social post, email subject line and even the title(s) you put on Powerpoint titles.

Second – you have to have relationships and you have to be good at being in relationships. A strong media relations strategist is connected to and conversing with reporters on the daily.

This means giving without any expectation of receiving anything in return. It’s called reciprocal altruism.

So if you give information to a journalist to help him/her to do their job more effectively — like access to an executive, data, information, I guarantee you that they will come back to you when they need to write a story.

So the point is, start your relationships with the media without any expectations whatsoever. Otherwise, you’ll be disappointed time and time again when reporters don’t call you back.

And by the way, you aren’t expected to media relationships early in your career. This takes time …. Years even.

Third – you need to have or learn to master the gift of gab. And that’s just a better way of saying that you need to be able to communicate and tell stories.

Now I am not talking about dominating the conversation and not allowing others to speak. That’s more along the lines of being self-centered or narcissistic.

I am talking about having the discernment to know when to speak, and when you do, you capture and keep the attention of the person you are talking to. If you work in PR, you work in sales and at the end of the day, it’s your job to pitch the media.

Just like writing headlines, your words need to persuade and influence the other person.

Ok, so most people aren’t born with this gift. So, it’s going to take practice.

The fourth thing you need to know is business strategy.

I can guarantee you that people like Meg Whitman, Elon Musk, Satya Nadella, and Marc Bennioff all have senior PR advisors that they look to for advice. Daily — especially when issues arise like COVID 19 as an example.

This means that you need to understand how the US economy works, foreign markets and cultures, where your companies’ products are made and assembled, the entire supply chain.

And lastly is data. And the beauty is that you don’t have to be a data scientist, you don’t have to love math and you don’t even need to know how to do basic arithmetic.

There are tools and software out there that can give you the data, but what you need to learn is how to look at data, make it actionable and be able to tell stories using it.

So there it is, the top 5 public relations skills that you must know and learn. Have fun doing it.

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