Public Relations SpecialistJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends
Are you persuasive and a good negotiator? A public relations specialist is the voice of the company, communicating with the public through various media outlets such as TV, magazines, online, and social media. They might be supporting a product, an idea, or creating and upholding an image. A public relations specialist might work for a company, an individual, a politician, or a government.
Many organizations use public relations specialists to grow and manage the perception of their products, services, brands, and entities. A good public relations professional can help boost company and product awareness by turning newsworthy events into compelling stories. They also help repair damaged images, whether of a company, person, politician, or other public figure.
Sample job description
[Your Company Name] has an immediate need for a public relations specialist to join a rapidly growing team. Our company applies a customer-friendly, direct, results-driven approach to marketing research and sales. As a result of proven success and expertise, new clientele is continuously added as we dramatically increase clients’ product exposure, sales, and brand recognition. There is a high demand for customer service-oriented and cost-effective services. We provide advertising, marketing, and PR campaigns for burgeoning companies and products/services. You will work closely on performance-driven campaigns with high-profile clients who consistently look for innovative strategies to drive their company and respective brands forward and increase their bottom line.
Typical duties and responsibilities
Enhance the company’s image via online and offline channels
Serve as initial contact for all media queries
Create press releases, media announcements, speeches, and other media communications to promote clients.
Prepare presentations for media briefings and other meetings
Plan, organize, and oversee company events such as fairs, seminars, conferences, etc.
Provide effective crisis management solutions
Suggest effective resolutions to internal or external conflicts
Conduct research and analyze public opinion
Establish and maintain targeted media lists, and nurture relationships with key reporters, consumers, community, employees, etc.
Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of PR campaigns and communicate insights to management
Collaborate with external stakeholders
Train client representatives in effective communication with the public and employees
Study organizational objectives, promotional policies, and needs to build public relations strategies that influence public opinion and promote products, ideas, and services
Update and maintain web content
Education and experience
Bachelor’s degree in journalism, public relations, marketing, journalism, communications, business, advertising, or related field
Prior experience with media or public relations
Required skills and qualifications
Experience with public relations campaigns and media management
Excellent written, verbal, presentation, and communication skills
Basic knowledge of computers and writing software such as MS Office
Strong attention to detail
Able to effectively pitch to media
Knowledge of consumer marketing
Creative and strategic thinker
Understanding of how to run a PR campaign to meet objectives
Able to meet hard deadlines
Excellent project management skills
Ability to be calm in a stressful environment
Experience in PR communications, marketing, or media
Experience researching, writing, and editing publications
Self-confidence, drive, and a willingness to learn
Flexible, determined, and enthusiastic
Average salary and compensation
The average salary for a Public Relations Specialist is $59,500 per year in the United States plus potential for a quarterly or annual bonus. Salary will vary based on the level of experience, responsibility, industry, company size, and geographic market.
Los Angeles, California
New York City, New York
Typical work environment
Public Relations Specialists typically work in offices during regular business hours. They generally work in the marketing or public relations department of an organization or work for a PR firm. Many have to travel to meet with clients, give speeches, or deliver presentations on behalf of the organization or client. Public relations professionals can sometimes work in a high-stress environment handling multiple projects at the same time.
The typical work hours for a public relations specialist are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, but depending on the specific role, late nights, early mornings, and weekends may be frequently necessary.
Public relations professionals work in a variety of industries, and many institutions offer certifications, including:
Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). The Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) administers the APR credential. To earn certification, you must be a member of an approved public relations organization, such as the Public Relations Society of America, and you have to pass the examination. The exam tests your knowledge of ethics, law, business literacy, media crisis management, and media relations. The certification is available for professionals with a bachelor’s degree and 5+ years of work experience.
Certified Public Relations Manager (CPRM). The CPRM credentialis offered by theAmerican Institute for Business Management and Communication and demonstratesthat you have the required public relations tools and techniques and are committed to the code of ethics. To be eligible for certification, you need to have a bachelor’s degree in any field and 1+ years of experience in public relations, business communications, or a related field. You must recertify every 4 years.
Certificate in Public Relations. Many schools and colleges in the US offer a certificate program in public relations where students learn actionable creative and strategic skills, tools, and methodologies needed to lead all aspects of strategic communications in today’s global marketplace. Most programs require a bachelor’s degree to enroll in the program.
The path to a successful career in PR begins with a bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, marketing, or a related field. A good way to gain experience is by volunteering at local charities. Another way to get experience is to write for student papers or magazines, or work at student radio or university societies. Universities can help place graduates, but most graduates find work by contacting PR agencies directly.
As a public relations professional, you can work in a variety of industries, including the arts, fashion, politics, business, sports, or charities. You can also establish your own public relations consulting firm. The keys to advancing your career in public relations are being a good listener, adaptable, and relating to the community in which you operate.
US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook
SOC Code: 27-3031
Projected Employment in 2030
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift
Public relations has become more and more dependent on data. Data defines public relations strategy. And in this age of the internet, large volumes of data are available at the click of a button. Public relations teams will need to be able to quickly filter through all the data they collect and find what they can use to create compelling stories that interest their readership, journalists, and the market.
Public relations in the future will be about reaching the right people. Companies can’t just create quality content and expect everyone to come running anymore. Those days are gone. Public relations teams will have to conduct research and find their relevant audiences and tailor their messages to those specific audiences to stay competitive.
Sample interview questions
Describe a recent PR campaign that worked well and why.
Describe a recent PR campaign that failed and why.
What writing experience do you have in public relations?
How do you find relevant contacts and sources?
What skills are required by a public relations specialist?
Which public relations firms do you admire and why?
Which media outlets do you follow closely? Why?
How do you use social media for public relations?
What should a social media press release look like?
What are important areas for growth in public relations?
How do you measure the ROI of your campaigns?
How would you deal with a public relations crisis?
How is public relations different from advertising?
Can you name some of the social media optimization or monitoring tools you’ve worked with?
Describe a time you had to overcome a challenge with an individual or group when developing and executing a public relations campaign?
What was the most difficult situation you have been in when responding to media and public inquiries? How did you handle it?
What would you do if a client or manager disagreed with your public relations strategy?
Are You Interested in Public Relations?
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