Back to the Future (Again)


Despite the constant chorus that social media acumen is the ticket to getting ahead in PR, you may be a bit surprised by the top communication skills now needed for advancement.

What’s Old is New in PR: With apologies to literary lion William Faulkner, “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” We thought of Faulkner’s quote when assessing the most important PR skills for advancement within an organization, according to PR News’ Salary Survey: PR Compensation and Benefits Report (2014). Sure, having social media skills is crucial if you want to enhance the overall value of your communications, and the ability to drive audience engagement via social channels helps in that regard. But if you want to get on the fast track in your organization via communications, you need to master two of the most traditional PR skills: written communications and media relations (see below). They remain the top two ways to advance in PR, according to the salary survey, which garnered a total of 1,051 responses, representing a wide swath of industries and PR disciplines. Financial acumen and PR measurement tend to suck up a lot of oxygen in the (PR) room, but they’re no match for solid writing and knowing how to pitch your stories.

To order a copy of PR News’ 2014 Salary Survey and Benefits Report, Vol. 4, please go to

This article originally appeared in the May 19, 2014 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.

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