Beyond the Press Release: Survival Skills for Public Relations

“But what do you really do?”

The amount of times I’ve been asked this question by friends, family and new acquaintances upon hearing that I’m in Public Relations initially surprised me. Yet, my colleagues have recently confirmed my resulting suspicion: most people don’t know what PR is and how we, as PR professionals, operate.

For those seeking an insight into what makes PR machines tick, I can provide something more compelling than a list of potential PR initiatives. Here are just a few of the survival skills that agencies and individuals must command to catapult themselves from good to great.


While an asset in virtually any field, flexibility takes on a whole new meaning in PR. Whether dealing with last-minute scheduling dilemmas, handling high-pressure client matters on a tight deadline or finding the closest power outlet at a conference, flexibility is an absolute necessity.

On a broader level, and as my colleagues have previously pointed out, the field of communications is changing at lightspeed. Without a healthy curiosity for new channels and tactics, PR professionals stuck in their ways may quickly find themselves obsolete.


PR isn’t all about press releases…at least when done well. The strategies that PR professionals can use to elevate and gain exposure for the brands they represent are truly endless. It’s just human nature; even the most erudite audience would gladly consume mindless social campaigns instead of choking down a dry press release – even though they may be dialing into the same message.

Creative routes aren’t always the most convenient, but they pay dividends to help a brand stick out from the crowd. Between the surge of digital marketing strategies, infographics, compelling corporate videos and improved SEO tactics, the PR pro is limited only by her or his creativity.


In PR, as in life, confidence will take you far. You can’t pitch a reporter, write an effective bylined article or devise creative initiatives without understanding your client’s value and unique contribution to the industry at hand.

Selling strategies and communications plans to colleagues and clients requires confidence. Even with great flexibility and creativity, without conviction, brilliant strategies run the risk of falling on deaf ears.

In other words, PR isn’t about peddling stale company news, nor does it require an advanced degree in English Literature. And, if you’ve made it this far, then I should cut my losses and exercise another critical PR tool – brevity.

Let me know what skills I’ve missed on Twitter (@geena_derose) or in the comments. Your creativity is appreciated in advance.


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