media update’s Nakedi Phala takes you through a stirring discussion of the traits that make up a successful PR practitioner.

What makes any PR pro unique is personality, as this allows them to complete the same tasks differently — and that’s what gives brands, businesses and organisations freedom of choice when it comes to hiring who they want to represent them — each PR pro’s uniqueness.

However, it’s important to remember that skills, unlike personality, can be taught — and when you combine successful skills with a unique personality, you have the makings of a PR pro whose value is unmatched by any other practitioner. 

Here are six characteristics of a successful PR practitioner: 

1. They are open to learning new tricks 

Becoming a well-established and respected PR professional isn’t an easy task; a lot of learning is involved in the journey and one thing that’s needed for this profession is the willingness to learn from good and bad experiences — the ability to adapt is also key here.

In a world that is forever changing, being keen to learn makes it easy for you, the PR pro,  to adapt to changes and to improve. For example, it has now become the norm for press statements or press releases to be published on social media platforms, such as Twitter or LinkedIn, instead of organising a press briefing on all matters.

As a PR pro, you can really benefit from learning new or different ways of conducting your work. It helps keep you ahead of the curb and always challenges industry changes; this way, your unique craft is always relevant. 

2. They build a good rapport  

One of the most important skills a PR practitioner should possess is relationship building. This refers to how they communicate with the public, stakeholders and clients at large. 

In order to be a successful PR pro, you need to be attentive at all times, especially during conversations with others — be it at events, in the boardroom and even during press briefings. This shows that you’re interested in the conversation and are most likely to respond with understanding —  basically, you can give insightful information that will make people want to pick your brains more. 

Building industry relationships doesn't happen overnight; it takes time meaning that you need to get to know the people that you come across in your daily operations. 

3. They have strong writing skills 

A skill that is a must-have is the ability to write well. This means that you need to write content that connects with your clients’ target audiences.

If you want to excel, write in a way that isn't complicated and is easy to understand. Remember, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication — the point is to get your client’s message across in a way that is not too fancy or difficult to read, but rather gets ‘straight to the point’.

Most importantly,  it’s vital to write in your own style and voice, as this differentiates you from other PR practitioners out there. 

4. They pay attention to detail 

Detail is important and it matters in all PR assignments. A good PR pro knows that paying attention — even to the smallest components that make up their work — could be the reason why that task in particular is an excellent task. 

As a PR pro, it’s important to give your job your full attention and take time to refine press statements, emails, or event plans, etc. PR professionals that are skilled at taking note of details are at ease and confident about what they’re putting out there to clients and the public ?— at the end of the day, to them, it’s not about the number of tasks that they put out there but it's about the quality of the work. 

So, how can you learn from these PR pros? Remember, it’s your name on the bottom of those emails and communication statements. So, take the time to look at your content, investigate matters down to the wire and leave no stones unturned; if you rush your writing, you could end up missing the most important piece of information. 

5. They are always honest 

As a PR pro, it’s vital that you always present yourself in a genuine and sincere manner. Misrepresentation only does more harm to your reputation than good.

When it comes to your own work, it’s ideal to honour your commitments — you’re human. If you’re unable to deliver on something, let your clients know that you’ll be unable to deliver on the agreed time — it’s the professional thing to do. 

It’s not a matter of truths and lies,  it’s about PR ethics, which you should always keep at the back of your mind to guide your moral compass. It is better to be disliked for acting in an ethical and principled manner than being known as an unethical PR practitioner, which could affect your lifelong career. 

6. They know when to be a tough cookie 

PR is not for the fainthearted; at times you will work many hours, dealing with a crisis, spending hours trying to crack an excellent PR pitch and even have your press releases rejected  — it’s all part of the job. 

You will come across a lot of criticism, especially as a young PR practitioner. But use it to build yourself for the better of your career and, most importantly —  learn from it. Even during difficult circumstances, always try to keep your cool and soldier on.

What are your thoughts on our top six characteristics of a successful PR pro? 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 to our newsletter.

There’s always room for a PR pro to improve their craft, like learning new ways of approaching their work. You can do this by checking out  How PR can help kasi brands reach their goals.