Smoothing-over negative press? Doing whatever it takes to promote your company’s image? At first glance, a career in public relations seems borderline immoral. If you’re working for Bernie Madoff, then yeah, there might some questionable activity going on. But the majority of P.R. reps work for people, organizations and companies they believe in; those doing P.R. for the American Cancer Society, for example. And that says nothing of the work itself, which is generally immensely satisfying for creative, personable and energetic personalities. Compound that with the fact that success is rewarded with results you can actually see, and a career in personal relations is starting to look like a top-prospect (it’s often considered one of the best careers every year). See if it’s a viable career path for you with this public relations and marketing PR training course.
Director of Communications
With great job title, comes great responsibility. The buck stops with the director of communications, who is responsible for managing all proceedings of P.R. within a company or organization. The reputation of your employer and its employees lies in your hands. Writing press releases, generating advertising opportunities, taking interviews and delivering speeches are notable, even exciting aspects of the job. But there’s a lot that has to go on behind-the-scenes to ensure success around the board. Planning marketing campaigns (see what it takes with these essential marketing strategies), pitching ideas, networking with the media, appointing executives and managing content and corporate messages are among the many other responsibilities for which you will be accountable. Needless to say, this is not an entry-level position. Directors are generally appointed after demonstrating their proficiency and loyalty time and again to their organization. If communication is your dream, then director of communications is your dream job.
Media Relations Specialist
The main job duties are self-explanatory: moderate communication between the organization and the media, develop relationship with media reps, help prepare press releases and, more generally, do everything in your power to cultivate a positive media image of your organization. You control the media valve, so you need to know the answer to questions like, how much media is too much media? When should we open the flood tanks? Are our communication channels effective? You need to produce an emergency press kit: step number one? You have to earn the title “Specialist,” which means keeping the organization, and not just the media, informed about pressing information. It can be an immensely rewarding career, but “tough skin” should probably be a prerequisite for serious professionals.
The Publicist differs from the Media Relations Specialist in primarily one way: positivity. Publicists are responsible for generating positive press coverage for their organizations, above all else. This involves nurturing strong relationships with media reps (arguably the most underrated aspect), pitching stories, writing press releases and simply finding the best, most effective ways to project a positive image of the organization. Working for an individual often involves planning press tours, and sometimes you will be required to go on the tour, as well. If this sounds like your cup of tea, steep your ambition by learning how to unleash the power of publicity.
Another dream job, managing editors direct the other editors, and overall operations, of a publication, editorial or other field in which some form of journalism is a necessity, most notably newspapers and magazine. Managing a timely and motivated staff is absolutely critical, as deadlines and a dedicated team often determine the success of a publication. But the effort is cooperative, and not at all lonely or hierarchical. You will work closely with newsroom employees and, of course, every editor from the news editor to the graphics editor. Manage long enough, and these will be people that you yourself appoint. You also have the power to publish or withhold controversial content, so if you’ve ever struggled with decision making, you might want to take your talents elsewhere.
Again, the broader job description is fairly obvious: a career in market research is heavy with data. If you don’t like data, you can skip the rest of this description and move on to “External Affairs.” Using data to analyze market activity, implement courses of action, predict future trends and keep a sensitive figure on the market’s pulse is all in a day’s work. It is your job to stay informed on social and economic tendencies, and to interpret the meanings into useful ideas for your own organization. Meeting with clients to discuss research projects and commissioning surveys and studies is a required (and acquired) skill, too.
Affairs, relations, whatever you want to call it, the key word here is external. And while this is an article on public relations, careers in external affairs can span a variety of fields, from fund raising to advocacy. Like many jobs in public relations, the bottom line is projecting a strong public image of a company or organization, but those in external affairs often direct their concentration to financial matters. Sure, you’ll get plenty of chances to prove your marketing skills, but you will be evaluated on your ability to manage a budget, to fund raise, to collaborate with politicians and to create public awareness of positive financial decisions, such as charity work or notable and commendable contributions. A part of this is old-school marketing, as you will also be responsible for “getting the message out.” Relevant advertising and marketing campaigns, involving everything from pamphlets to communications planning, is kind of like External Affairs 101. Like pretty much every other personal relations job out there, a willingness and enthusiasm for working under pressure, cherishing opportunities to present yourself, and enjoying making connections (the social butterfly is well-equipped for P.R.) are skills you must possess and implement flawlessly on a regular basis. If you are seriously considering a career in public relations, check out this perfectly-rated introduction to branding, public relations and social media rules to live by.