PR Manager Job Description - Skills, Responsibilities, Career
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What Does a Public Relations Manager Do?
A Public Relations Manager (PR Manager) is a person paid by a brand, organization or public figure to select and deploy communications strategies and tools designed to promote its image, elevate its public profile and enhance its reputation.
A Public Relations Manager’s main task is to manage relations with the media and the public and to organize events and initiatives of various kinds.
Public Relations Managers are responsible for determining the content, timing, mood and tone of communications from the company, brand or person they work for towards the external environment in which that company, brand or person operates or exists, with the ultimate aim of creating a positive sentiment or favourable perception. They are typically required to handle all aspects of public relations within an allocated budget.
Public Relations Managers plan and implement communications strategies (whose scope may range from corporate-wide to product-specific) designed to ensure effective media coverage in terms of a range of business objectives, which may include increasing visibility and brand awareness, creating a favourable reputation, maximizing brand success, generating leads (i.e. attracting new clients) and building the loyalty of the existing client base.
PR Managers plan and organize events, press conferences and press days; produce content, reports and media kits; and enter into media partnerships and co-marketing agreements. The communication strategies they devise have a broad and varied target audience, including the media, government bodies and institutions, investors, influencers and opinion groups. Together with the press office, they work to build and maintain relations with journalists, opinion leaders and private and public partners in order to generate promotional opportunities for the company and enhance its reputation, closely monitoring its visibility in the national and international media.
Together with the Marketing and Communications Manager, PR managers work on advertising campaigns and coordinate sponsorships and promotional initiatives designed to transmit a corporate image or message that is clear, consistent and aligned with the company’s values.
Public Relations Managers also have a key role to play in building and managing positive relations with both current and potential stakeholders.
Public Relations Managers monitor and measure the performance of communications initiatives in terms of media coverage and their impact on corporate image. They also compare them with competitors’ actions, periodically presenting their findings in reports to top management.
With the advent of modern communication tools and techniques, traditional PR methods are now being combined with promotional activities carried out via digital communication channels, in collaboration with Social Media Managers and other web marketing experts. This may include creating and sharing relevant digital content on a corporate website, developing and managing social media profiles (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram etc.), optimizing company newsletters and performing online reputation monitoring.
These are all activities that are typically handled by a figure called the Digital Public Relations Officer, who strategically employs digital marketing channels to manage the online communications and reputation of a company or brand.
Public Relations Managers are typically employed by PR agencies, communications agencies, advertising agencies or web agencies.
Alternatively, they may work for the in-house marketing and communications team of a medium-large company, non-profit organization or government body.
A further option for public relations experts is to provide PR services on a self-employed basis, developing innovative communications strategies for clients, either as a freelance consultant or as the boss of their own agency.
PR experts play a vital role in a wide range of different sectors - including finance, banking, insurance, fashion, luxury goods, industry, agriculture, chemical, pharmaceutical, energy, IT and technology - each of which require their own specific communications plans.
Public relations experts typically divide their time between working in the office and attending media events, press conferences, promotional launches, meetings with clients and investors, and general networking opportunities.
Working hours tend therefore to be very flexible, especially when there is a crisis that needs managing. For this reason, diplomacy, an ability to cope well with stress, and strong interpersonal and communications skills are all key qualities for a PR Manager.
PR Manager Duties and Responsibilities
The main duties of a Public Relations Manager include:
- Creating PR plans and campaigns designed to enhance corporate, product or client reputation and transmit a clear, consistent message that is aligned with the appropriate values
- Developing and maintaining relations with principal local and national media and key influencers
- Creating press releases, blog posts, interviews, case studies, pictures and other relevant content to be shared with traditional media online and through social networks
- Providing information to the press and the public and responding to crisis situations in a timely fashion
- Monitoring client or company reputation in traditional media, internet and social media
- Handling communications with stakeholders
- Analysing and measuring outcomes of PR campaigns and activities against targets and presenting data in reports
- Monitoring communications and PR actions of competitors with a view to improving strategies
How to Become a PR Manager - Education, Training, Requirements
There are no set educational or training requirements for a career in Public Relations, although a degree course in Communications, Marketing or Economics, covering areas such as business management, public relations, corporate and product communications strategies, online and offline advertising and IT tools and applications will provide aspiring PR officers with a solid foundation.
After graduating, a course in public relations or business communications at a business school or professional training institution, followed by an internship at a company or public relations, communications or advertising agency (or alternatively at an event organization agency) will provide an ideal springboard into the industry.
Personal qualities are a key factor in becoming a successful Public Relations specialist. The list of requirements includes excellent interpersonal skills, a dynamic attitude, proactivity and a sense of initiative, and openness to ongoing learning. A knowledge of foreign languages is also a significant advantage, given the international nature of the public relations sphere.
Public Relations Manager Skills
Job advertisements for Public Relations Managers typically ask for the following skills and personal qualities:
- In-depth knowledge of public relations, practices and communication processes
- Ability to come up with innovative and creative public relations concepts and approaches
- Excellent written and spoken communication skills
- Analytical, organizational and planning skills
- Proactive, result-focused attitude
- Problem-solving skills and ability to resolve crisis situations in a timely and effective manner
- Ability to multi-task
- IT skills
- Ability to work as part of a team and to cope with pressure
Public Relations Manager Career Path
A career in public relations usually starts with a position as an assistant or junior public relations officer. Candidates with a background in a related field, such as journalism, press office work, advertising or events are likely to be viewed favourably. Experience as an event or bar/club promoter may also be an advantage, as selectors will appreciate candidates with self-confidence who can demonstrate good verbal communication skills and an aptitude for interpersonal relations.
With experience and hard work, PR juniors working for a company can progress to more senior roles, such as public relations manager.
For newly-hired PR workers at a public relations agency, the career path may involve progressing from account executive to account manager and from there to key account manager.
Finally, public relations professionals who choose to work on a self-employed basis offering consultancy services can look forward to the prospect of one day setting up and running their very own agency.
Top Reasons to Work as a Public Relations Manager
Working as a PR manager is a position of great responsibility. It involves overseeing and coordinating external communications and working to ensure that the message transmitted is fully aligned with the image the client or company wishes to project and produces a positive impact.
Aspiring public relations professionals need to be creative, methodical and organized, not to mention capable of rapidly analyzing and processing large quantities of information and determining how best to deploy it to serve the agreed communications strategies. The work may often be hectic, but is always interesting and stimulating. The dynamic world of PR is best suited to those who are at home dealing with lots of different people - including the media, stakeholders, clients, and the target audience - and who deal well with stress. Last, but not least, a job in public relations offers the possibility to work in a wide variety of environments and offers competitive pay packages.