The PR BlogPublic RelationsPR IndustryRockstar PR Consultants (And the Secret They All Share)

Rockstar PR Consultants (And the Secret They All Share)

Rockstars don't need authority to tell them how to succeed.

Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer (Instagram)

How do you recognise rockstar PR consultants?

Having worked in the PR industry since 2005, I’ve worked alongside many PR professionals that could be characterised as “rockstar PR consultants.”

One rockstar PR consultant easily outweighs three or four average consultants. They make clients happier, attract business (and other “rockstars”), and put their mark on the agency.

In this blog post, you’ll learn:

Where do they come from?
What’s their secret?
How do you become one?
How do you hire them?

Let’s dive right in:

Where Do Rockstar PR Consultants Come From?

A rockstar PR consultant can come from anywhere.

Some have been fantastic account managers. Other strategic masterminds. Others are creative geniuses. Others have been leaders, some inspiring, some actionable.

Some are educated communicators. Others are lawyers, business administrators, politicians, speakers, journalists etc. One of the best PR consultants I ever had the pleasure of working with used to be a nuclear physicist.

Some can light up a room with their charisma; some you won’t even notice until you see the quality of their work. Some are extroverts; some are introverts.

My good friend Richard Yams, nowadays Head of Content at Burson-Marsteller, once wrote:

“An organisation I worked for had a founder who said he preferred hiring consultants with good self-confidence and low self-esteem.”

I agree that many successful consultants have a strong inner drive that sometimes stems from dark places.

But what makes rockstar PR consultants stand out?

The Secret Trait All PR Rockstars Share

Once they get up to speed, rockstar PR consultants will start to extinguish themselves amongst their peers:

  • You badly want them on your team.
  • They always find a way to blow your mind.
  • They make things look easy out of the box.
  • They’re often social media naturals.
  • Mysteriously, they tend always to come out on top.
  • You can see in their eyes that they “get it”.

After many years of finding and recruiting PR talent, I’ve finally arrived at an answer:

Rockstar PR consultant = A junior PR consultant that doesn’t need (or expect) authority to explain how to succeed and get things done.

These individuals seem to have things already figured out—and they turn every task into an opportunity:

  • If you want them to take over a small client, they turn that client into a big one.
  • If they’re asked to do something, they look for innovative ways to get record results.
  • In feedback talks, they give you feedback on how you can help them succeed.

Ask yourself: Are you waiting for authority to tell you what to do or how to succeed? Are you waiting for the authority to permit you? Are you waiting for someone to give you a chance?

How To Spot PR Rockstars When Recruiting

So, how do you determine if the candidate in front of is a rockstar PR consultant—or if they have rockstar potential?

Before the interview, I give them a task. For instance, I could ask them to prepare and present a PR case study. Then, I look at how the candidates tackle this specific task:

1. Some will do their best to crush the assignment. Most candidates will focus on the task and do their best to execute it as flawlessly as possible. They’re striving to get an A+ on the assignment. They want to hear the recruiter say, “wow, that’s the best way to do what we asked you to do.”

2. Some will improve the rules of the assignment. A few candidates will instead turn the assignment into an opportunity to change the rules to their benefit. They might say that the task was wrong, that ‘creative PR ideas’ wasn’t what this fictitious client needed—and instead, present an innovative strategy.

I would go for the second group of candidates. I would also look for candidates who improve the outcome and the contextual framework because that’s what rockstar PR consultants do.

Thank you for reading this article. Please consider supporting my work by sharing it with other PR- and communication professionals. For questions or PR support, contact me via [email protected].

Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.


  1. Great article. I might add that perhaps one of the characteristics of a transcendent consultant is that they help people find the answers inside them. I like the idea of creating some discomfort as well.

  2. I like what your former colleague said, though I think I still only have the void and not the rest. Makes it look better anyway :)

  3. A previous place I did work for had a founder who said he preferred
    to hire consultants that had good self-confidence and bad self-esteem.

    His thinking was that bad self-esteem would make the
    consultant always strive for delivering more to the client, in order to feel
    loved and valuable. Good self-confidence on the other hand would help the
    consultant to sell in his/her work properly to clients.
    It was cynical thinking but I think he had a point. It also
    makes me wonder why they hired me :)
    / Richard

  4. Nice article – thanks – like the word Rockstar. I’ve had the great privilege of working with the reputation of some of them and what I see is that it all boils down to the expectations that they – and their reputation creates.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Grab a free subscription before you go.

Get notified of new blog posts & new PR courses

🔒 Please read my integrity- and cookie policy.

Write B2B Blog Posts

Use my storytelling template (with action prompts) to create blog posts for B2B experts using The Outline Method. Including my 16-page How-To Guide, Demo Post, and professional feedback.

I've created the Venn diagram of corporate awareness to emphasise the importance of internal collaboration between public relations, marketing, and branding.
Most popular