PR Fundamentals: How to Improve Public Relations Skills

By Tiara Ogabang

Getting better all the time 

If you’ve been asking yourself how to improve public relations skills, then congratulations are in order! Wanting to improve your professional capabilities is the first step to become a genuine PR pro. 

The desire for improvement also doesn’t mean that you’re not living up to standards. Even the most talented PR professionals have a desire to get even better than they already are. 

In fact, the desire for constant improvement is the mark of an ambitious professional, one who wants to offer all they can in the workplace. 

But how can you actually go about improving your public relations skills? Should you consider going back to school and earning a Master’s degree? Should you attend PR conferences and take careful notes? 

Well, these aren’t bad ideas in the least, but we have some suggestions that will be a bit easier to execute, so read on to learn more about how you can up your PR game. 

Consult online resources 

You have one huge advantage over all the other PR professionals from past decades: access to the internet and its enormous wealth of educational resources. 

Since we’re all very familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of the internet by this point, it probably goes without saying that not every resource you find online will be the most useful. 

There are certain resources out there that are not even credible. 

But learning about PR online has a few key benefits. It’s especially helpful for anyone trying to learn the basics, and it’s also a great resource for anyone who wants to know what it’s actually like to work in PR. 

There are many videos out there where a PR professional or a former PR professional talk all about their experiences in the industry, including what they liked and didn’t like.

Consult online resources

You may also be able to find some especially useful advice in these videos when it comes to how to survive in a large PR agency and work your way to the top. 

There are also several paid services out there that offer more credible educational content in exchange for a flat entry fee or a monthly subscription rate 

If you dedicate just one hour each week to learning more about PR online, you’ll quickly find yourself feeling more confident in your PR skills, and this increased confidence might even have benefits on your work and how you’re seen by your coworkers and your manager. 

Gain experience in different roles 

Being good at PR requires that you have several different, more specific skillsets that can be applied to separate roles within a PR company. 

If you only ever stay in your lane and never look beyond your own, personal tasks at your job, then it’s easy to lose sight of these other skillsets and not develop them for yourself. 

But if you make a real effort to move around within a PR company, working in different roles and handling very different tasks, then you’ll be getting valuable experience in each specific area of expertise. 

Try to see your current PR job as a frow-row seat to the PR industry as a whole. You don’t want to have your eyes closed during certain parts of the show; you want to experience all of it in some form. 

It would also be extremely helpful to work your way up to a management role. From this position, you’ll be able to get an in-depth view of many different aspects of the work at hand, since your team members will be reporting to you. 

Network with other PR professionals 

Networking is a valuable activity in any professional setting, and it’s no different for PR. The fastest and easiest way to network with other PR professionals and learn more about what they do and how they do it is to get to know your coworkers better. 

If there’s a healthy company culture at your place of work, then off-hours activities with your coworkers are almost guaranteed. 

While you shouldn’t try to bring up work in unrelated conversations with those coworkers, there’s nothing wrong with showing a healthy interest in the work they do. 

In fact, they might even be flattered that you want to learn more about their role.

PR Basics: How to Be a Public Relations Specialist

This isn’t about appearing curious, it’s about being curious and genuinely wanting to learn more about the meat and potatoes of public relations work.

Beyond your coworkers, you can also try to attend networking events and industry conferences. These events can be extremely valuable to anyone looking to improve their PR skills. 

Not only will you be making lots of new contacts with professionals from other companies, but you’ll also get to sit in on some lectures and discussions with some of the top minds in the industry. 

Taking these lessons home with you and applying them to your work is simply one of the best things you can do to improve yourself in a professional capacity. 

Take advantage of performance reviews 

Just about any company out there makes a point of holding performance reviews for their employees, and this is even more important for especially large companies with multiple leadership layers. 

While some employees get a bit squeamish at the idea of attending performance reviews with a manager or supervisor, but in reality, paying careful attention to the feedback you get during these brief meetings can be extremely helpful. 

This is even more true for anyone out there trying to improve their PR skills and move their way up the corporate ladder. 

This is your chance to hear specific feedback about your own performance at work over the last year, and it’s also your chance to ask very specific questions about that feedback. 

You can also request additional feedback if you feel that the performance review didn’t give you all the information you were looking for. 

Best of all, if your manager or supervisor sees how eager you are to improve your professional performance, then they might be more likely to consider you for a promotion in the near future.