Public Relations Management

Public relations managers play a major role in influencing the public's perception of a company, nonprofit organization, political group or individual. Read on to learn if handling media concerns and promoting products or services is the ideal career for you.

Is Public Relations Management for Me?

Job Description

Public relations managers create and maintain a positive public image of the clients they work for. As a public relations manager, it would be your job to develop public perception of products, services or the reputation of the organization or individual you represent. You'd often need to build strong relationships with different people, such as competitors, politicians, the media or other businesses to solve problems or promote your client's interests. You could work directly for your client or within a public relations firm, handling one or more clients or a group of public relations specialists. You might need to write press releases, research public opinion, develop a branding strategy, create promotional materials or organize public or media events.

Specializations

Though you wouldn't have to specialize in any particular industry or type of PR, focusing on one field or a small number of PR strategies could help you develop a niche expertise. For example, you could learn about the legal issues, typical consumers, and successful marketing methods needed to specialize in healthcare, technology, retail, food service, or enterprise industries. You might investigate the effectiveness of certain types of advertising, social media, community outreach, or promotional activities that could be applied to various clients and businesses.

Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that job opportunities for public relations managers were expected to increase 13% from 2012-2022. However, the field is expected to be competitive, especially for high-profile businesses and PR firms. BLS data for 2013 showed that public relations managers made a median annual income of $98,700, with those in telecommunications, e-retail, security and commodity contracts brokerage, petroleum and coal manufacturing and the leasing of nonfinancial intangible assets averaging over $152,000 annually (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Public Relations Management?

Education

Obtaining a bachelor's degree in public relations or journalism is a good starting point if you hope to become a public relations manager. A bachelor's degree program can teach you to create and maintain beneficial relationships with groups and organizations for the good of your clients. Public relations courses might include campaigning, persuasion and public relations writing.

Some employers prefer applicants who have completed a graduate degree. A master's degree in public relations can also increase your opportunities for promotion. A master's program with a concentration in public relations can prepare you to work for government agencies, private companies, individuals and nonprofit organizations. In addition to classroom instruction, some graduate programs allow you to work with companies in a real-world setting. These hands-on training opportunities give you a chance to find solutions to current public relations problems.

Required Skills

A career in public relations requires excellent written and verbal communication skills that you'd use to write or deliver speeches or press statements. Strong leadership skills are also needed, since you might supervise teams of public relations specialists. Whether you work in a specific industry or multiple fields, having at least a basic knowledge of the laws and regulations that pertain to your client is a must. You should also be familiar with the fundamentals of advertising and marketing campaigns, promotions management, social media, and finance.

Certification

You might also consider earning a public relations certification, which can add to your job opportunities. Optional certification, such as that offered by the Public Relations Society of America, is usually awarded once you have completed the required amount of work experience and passed the certification exam. Other continuing education or professional development options that can benefit your public relations management career include seminars, conferences and training programs available through schools, PR firms, and private organizations.

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