The number of digital skills that PR pros can learn is a long, ongoing list — and trying to do a bit of everything won’t be beneficial at all. That is why it is important to look at the skills that carry the most value and assist you best.

Focusing on a niche set of skills that benefit your clients will not only allow your agency to stand out from the rest, but will also allow you to make a vital impact on how your clients’ brands perform.

media update’s Talisa Jansen van Rensburg takes a look at five of the most important digital skills that every PR professional needs.

Here they are:

1. Social listening

As a PR pro, you need to push your client’s brand message out there and ensure it is being well-received by the public. Creating content and posting it onto social media is not enough anymore — a brand’s followers are smarter than ever before thanks to the evolution of technology.

Knowing what people are saying about your client’s brand will allow you to make the correct adjustments, and this can be done by making use of social listening.

Wait, what exactly is social listening?
Social listening is the process of finding insights within social media conversations. It gathers social media posts that are relevant to a brand, campaign or topic and analyses the information they contain to find insights and trends,” says the team at amaSocial.

How will social listening help my brand?
It can help you gain insight and information that will allow you to improve the messages you send out to the public, allowing you to rework your content strategy. By making use of social listening tools and services, you will be able to stay in the loop of what people are saying about your client’s brand.

2. Photo and video editing

Being able to edit photos and videos will allow you to create amazing content. This includes content for social media platforms as well as your clients’ press releases, where you can attach your beautiful visuals to the emails for the journalist to include in the press release.

Also, being able to edit videos and photos means that the agency you work for doesn’t have to outsource the work or hire an additional graphic designer to edit your visual content. By upskilling on basic photo and video editing, you’ll be invaluable to any company.

There are a lot of online courses that will be able to teach you these skills. Here are some online sites where you can upskill photo and video editing:

3. SEO 

When you are creating press releases, it is vital to ensure your SEO game is on point before you send them out. If you want to ensure that your client’s press release will be easy to find online, you need to write it in an SEO-friendly manner. 

With more and more brands going digital, it is critical for you to learn how to write SEO-friendly content. This is because  there’s going to be a lot more online material, and if your SEO game is not on point, your client’s work will not rank high in Google searches, meaning no one will be able to find it amongst all the others. 

Having strong SEO skills will allow you to get your client’s content to the right audiences and make sure that the brand’s message is actually being seen. 

“SEO, content marketing and PR all share a common objective: to put the right content in front of the right audience at the right time,” says Laura Ackerman, contributor at Perficient.

Some of the SEO skills you need to focus on include: 
  • Keywords
  • Google analytics
  • Meta descriptions 
  • Link building 
  • Content

4. Basic coding

Most brands have a blog where people can gain insight into what the brand does, as well as the industry it’s in. As a PR pro, it is extremely beneficial to have basic coding skills, as well as knowledge of how Wordpress works. The reason for this is because, if your client’s brand has a new update that they need to add to their website or blog, you have the skills to program the code and add in the news that you need to communicate to the public.

Being able to edit content on a website will also allow you to remove anything that could potentially cause a PR crisis.

A lot of brands make use of themes that can be bought on blogging sites like Wordpress and ThemeForest. This means that you will need to be well-versed in these features and tools in order to make the necessary changes to their online platform.

Codecademy has a lot of courses on basic coding that is easy to understand and that will allow you to gain the much needed skills required.

5. Strong digital media relationships

As a PR pro, you are excellent at communicating with brands, clients, colleagues and people within the media industry. Most communication might have taken place via phone, events and meetings not too long ago, but with the current pandemic, social distancing and self-isolation have become the norm, meaning you’ll need to get used to video conferences and communicating via social media.

“[Communicating] in person versus digitally can be very different,” says Cassie Galasetti, co-founder at Social Sidekick. Being able to speak to a person face to face allows you to read their body language and get an idea of their personality, which can all help you to communicate to them in a way that will best suit them.

Speaking to a person digitally means you can’t see their body language and you don’t really get a taste of who they are as a person, making it harder to communicate the right things to them. Therefore, you need to ensure extra focus on creating strong digital media relationships with the correct people in the media industry.

What other digital skills do you think is vital for a PR pro to work on? Let us know in the comments section below.

We see you’ve enjoyed our content right until the end. To get more insightful stories, sign up for our newsletter.

If you want to weigh out the benefits of traditional and digital PR, be sure to read our Infographic: Traditional versus digital PR: Which one takes the cake?
*Image courtesy of Pixabay