Whitney Danhauer

What Are the Top New PR Skills Communications Pros Should Have?

By: Whitney Danhauer | September 13, 2019 | 
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skillsWhenever I tell people I work in content marketing, I get that look.

You know the one.

I had one lovely gentleman ask me, “Oh, so you play on Facebook all day?”

I just smiled and nodded my head.

Sure, pal. Thank you for thinking so highly of my capabilities.

The truth is, many people don’t understand what communicators do.

Or they think are jobs are mostly fun and games on social.

Hoo boy! How wrong they are.

I don’t have to tell you how many brilliant minds we have in our community—and how diligently we work!

But to ease my slightly bruised ego, we used another question Micah McGuire sent us as the #SpinSucksQuestion this week:

What are the top three new PR skills comms professionals need to bring a unique perspective to an agency or blended in-house marketing team?

Thanks to all of you who answered for reaffirming my choice in career paths.

Technical PR Skills

Christopher S. Penn:

Deep learning. Video creation and editing. Interactive software programming.These skills will make you truly unique, because so few people have them. Each is also exceedingly difficult to build competency, further ensuring your uniqueness.

Curiosity and Empathy Trump Skills

Betsy Decillis:

Funny enough, I was just talking to one of my favorite college professors about how today’s college education isn’t meeting today’s workplace needs. I’m going to disregard the word “skills” because I think that’s useless. Skills can be learned and are therefore not as important as qualities of the person. (To quote the great philosopher Lizzo, “I’m 100% that bitch.”) The top three qualities that will get you far in an agency are a deep curiosity that makes you yearn to learn, empathy for clients and audiences, and a knowledge of self (know thy limits and strengths so you know when to pass off a task or attack).

Writing, Writing, and More Writing

Mary Barber:

New hires of all levels need a strong work ethic encompassing a willingness to go the extra mile and learn by doing. As far as a specific skill? Writing and grammar are critical everywhere.

Chip Griffin:

For agency pros: Business savvy (both for understanding the agency’s business as well as that of the clients); Writing (both well and fast); Technology aptitude (the more tools you can use efficiently, the more potentially productive and valuable you become)

Mastering Strategy

Ozan Toptas:

Well, if we are just talking about uniqueness, any mix of three technical skills might bring that. Someone’s hobbies generally give a unique perspective on a person’s life.

But in my opinion, the industry lacks these three skills the most— even if it doesn’t think it does:

  1. Strategy: I think a deep, deep understanding of basic strategy is very important. Protip—it is not stacking activities together with relevant messaging according to research. It is about understanding the landscape, orienting yourself in it, and focusing your efforts to the right place.

  2. Communication: Yes, we are communications professionals. No, it does not mean we can communicate just because of the first argument. The source needs to understand his/her target, preferred method, and craft the message per target. And make sure the target understood the message.

  3. Pipelines: Every single person has multiple abilities. Every unit has multiple capabilities. But that alone does not mean you can generate enough work according to these abilities and capabilities. Everyone has a bandwidth and it changes per task. And the crazy thing is all these pipelines are dynamic and interconnected. Understanding this pipeline mentality can unlock a different kind of world.

Alan Dunton:

You have to have creative design capabilities, proficiency in a second language, and an insatiable desire to learn (curiosity).

Adding Relevance to Your Capabilities

While it might be easy for everyone to think they’re a communicator it certainly doesn’t mean everyone is good at it.

What comes to mind for you when you think of unique skills that make you stand out in a communications career? We’d love to hear what you think!

We ask the Spin Sucks Question every week our Spin Sucks community and you’re invited to join!

Fill out this form and you’ll be welcomed by a whole gang of communications pros who know their stuff and know how to have a good time.

Hope to see you there!

About Whitney Danhauer


Whitney is living in Central Kentucky with her husband, Michael and her daughter, Evie Rose. She's an avid reader, an even more avid movie watcher, and loves nothing more than a well-placed pop culture reference. By day she writes about all things communications for Spin Sucks, by night she writes about whatever she wants. Her first novel, Good Riddance, was released in October of 2015.