5 Key Traits of Public Relations & Social Media Pros

By Scott Signore

On the heels of the NFL draft – the opportunity for football franchises to pick the very best available college players for any positions on their teams – I’m thinking about the characteristics of professionals that are most valuable to public relations agencies. (I’m also hung-up on the fact that the Miami Dolphins drafted a player from much-beloved Marist College – a first-time happening in school history. Go Red Foxes and congrats, Terrence Fede!) When I’m “drafting” PR and social media professionals for our team, here are the characteristics I covet:

I look for a professionals who are creative and “get” that our category has changed and storytelling is richer and more comprehensive than ever. We value people who have successfully executed multi-dimensional programs, and leveraged creative service teams to pepper traditional and social media programs with engaging visuals. The ideal draftee is someone who embraces all available channels and finds ways to leverage content. Creating the content is one thing, but getting the very best ROI on each deliverable is completely different.

I welcome PR and social media pros who are organized and accountable. Good PR programs have so much content to manage – and often the responsibility of keeping things moving in a positive direction falls on the individual PR pro. While it’s a team game, and client and program success is the result of all contributions, accomplishing tasks while staying on strategy requires accountability at every seat. Rare is the day when a PR person can be complacent. Staying organized and making consistent progress equates to measurable outcomes. Like the NFL, all players have to contribute or they don’t last long.

I seek out professionals who are nimble – a term that perfectly describes our agency in a broader context – as I can’t think of a gig that requires more of a “go with the flow” approach than a position in a PR and social media agency. The professionals we seek need to adapt to strategies that change – sometimes often! – and they need to embrace new challenges and opportunities.

High-performing PR and social media professionals can’t be afraid of hard work, and they need to enter any agency with a genuine willingness to roll up their sleeves and get things done. While a hell of a lot of fun and professionally rewarding, a typical PR job can sometimes be a slog. It requires time, energy and commitment, and we’re constantly striving to bring in experienced PR pros who have demonstrated that they are willing to overcome challenges and get things done – not matter the task at hand. (No PR team works as hard as our team here at Matter, so we’re particularly appreciative of new folks who share the same philosophy.)

Finally, we try our best to hire PR and social media professionals who are good people and solid citizens. The hiring manager at Shandwick in New York – where I worked as an account coordinator just after graduating college – often said that the quality of the person was as important as the quality of the work. That perspective could be debated, but I know here at Matter we place a high value on the quality of our people. We want to work in the trenches with good, honest, hard-working people, and we seek these qualities as we hire new professionals for our team.

What kind of PR pro are you? What kind of “players” do you draft at your agency?