What to Look for in a Public Relations Representative

August 31, 2015

While the public relations profession has changed, the foundation of what makes a successful PR practitioner has remained constant. Here are our top 10 things to look for when seeking the perfect PR partner:

1. Strategic thinking skills

Understanding why and how certain strategies support a client’s business objectives is imperative. Savvy PR practitioners clearly map initiatives to achieve overall goals.

2. Trustworthiness

You need to not only feel confident your PR representatives can keep company information confidential, but you also need faith in their abilities to provide solid counsel.

3. A thirst for knowledge

Be it their love of the news or the way they always seek new avenues to help you reach your target audience, a true PR person is a lifetime learner and can dissect even the most complex topics into messages that resonate with reporters and key stakeholders alike.

4. Creativity

How do you create news when there isn’t something timely to share? A great PR person isn’t one-dimensional; PR representatives envision compelling community outreach programs, clever story angles, and engaging content to build brand visibility.

5. Persistence

Today’s business landscape is as competitive as ever. A fabulous idea can’t get told unless there is a meticulous effort made to find the right medium, person, and vehicle for communicating your message, and you can’t give up until you get an answer. PR pros are constantly finding the balance between being helpful and being annoying, which is an art driven by instinct.

6. Acute listening skills

It needs to be about you, the client. A seasoned PR professional knows how to listen carefully, not only hearing what is said, but also what isn’t being said. PR reps uncover a lot through listening, then asking thought-provoking questions.

7. Engagement

Often when I interview younger professionals, they say they want to get into PR because they are a “people person.” Being able to create relationships certainly plays a critical role in a PR representative’s success, but their engagement goes much deeper: they need to communicate the stories you want to tell in an engaging way, both verbally and in writing. If they can’t, they won’t pique the interest of a reporter, conference organizer, or your target customer.

8. Critical thinking skills

Because of the speed at which today’s information travels you need someone who not only is responsive to media queries, but who also recognizes when a quick, thoughtful answer is required. Being quick on your feet while also being thorough is an essential PR person quality, not only during crises, but also when a timely opportunity presents itself.

9. A detail-oriented personality

More than likely, when you see something that is so easy to understand, it took a lot of thought to make it that way. Asking the appropriate questions is essential for getting to the root purpose for PR outreach and helps guide the research that ultimate crafts a successful mixture of PR tactics.

10. Being a go-getter

When you blend the client’s impetus for hiring a PR agency with an effective PR person, you produce an outreach strategy that delivers valuable results. Balancing the daily must-dos with fresh thinking that connects with your audience is how PR propels brands forward.


The PR landscape is always changing, but much of what makes a solid PR practitioner has remained the same. A great foundation, coupled with the ability to adapt and innovate as the industry evolves, properly positions a solid public relations professional to help any organization achieve its goals.

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