What skills are needed to work in Public Relations in 2021?

Cannings Purple 11 Aug 2021
2 mins

For an industry that has been around for roughly a century, defining “public relations” can be tricky, especially in a rapidly changing digital climate and amid evolving practices in the industry.

Cannings Purple’s People and Culture Manager, Bri Kent says that as an industry, there’s more to do in how we talk about our industry, especially when it comes to attracting the next generation.

“We really need to work on communicating what the industry looks like,” Bri said.

After all, a career in public relations is usually nothing like Sex and the City where Samantha, Carrie and the gang strut from New York to Paris in their fur coats. In fact, on a typical day, we’re hunkered down, writing media releases and developing the next big communications campaign.

Bri says that since joining Cannings Purple as our first People and Culture Manager last year, she’s made it part of her mission to educate young people about the industry.

“When I started at Cannings Purple, I was shocked that we had to put an ad up for a junior role…we’re the best PR firm in Perth… we should have people knocking our door down to work with us, so what this tells me is that there’s a hesitancy in the field  about  what exactly we do. This is why I’ve been engaging with universities, to get young people familiar with, not only our brand, but the industry itself,” Bri said. 

What is Public Relations? 

For those in the public relations industry, we know that it’s an umbrella term that covers an almost boundless array of communications and relationships.

Public relations professionals help organisations cultivate a positive reputation through various media channels.

An ever-changing industry

Public relations is a dynamic field that is constantly evolving to meet new demands and incorporate new innovations in technology.

Whereas, once PR focussed on distributing press releases and news in a one-way communication process, today, digital PR has brought brands online, allowing them to share information in real-time directly with their stakeholders and audiences.

This means that the hiring process has also evolved to ensure potential employees have this hybrid set of skills.  

Bri says that her interviewing process now incorporates a large digital element to ensure the applicants have a ‘digital mindset’.  

“With each interview, we ensure we ask questions where individual’s digital mindset needs to be front and centre,” Bri said.  

“We are super interested in how the applicant incorporates technology into their daily lives and what value that brings.” 

What skills are needed to work in Public Relations in 2021?

Writing skills

PR professionals are required to compel and/or influence an audience. You should be able to write articles, press releases and social media copy that can engage people and generate interest.

Relationship building

Relationships mean a lot in PR. However, it’s both about who you know and what you know. Building and nurturing relationships with the local community, influencers, and the media is crucial.


The PR industry is nothing like it was ten years ago. Forward-thinking and projecting new and evolving trends is essential.

A strong grasp on social media

It’s no secret that the world of social media has revolutionised the PR profession. Experience across various social media channels and understanding their place and impact is vital to surviving as a modern PR professional.

Creative thinking

Developing bold and creative ideas is crucial in an ever-changing market.


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