What Are the Duties of a Public Relations Executive?

Research what it takes to become a public relations executive. Learn about job duties, work environment, career advancement and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Public Relations degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Public Relations Executive?

Public relations executives create publicity campaigns, plan special events and communicate with the media. Their intent is to create and maintain a positive public profile for their client, which may be an organization, business or figure. They prepare plans to keep the public aware of their client's work. This may include designing press releases, arranging interviews and responding to press requests. They may also provide feedback on advertising. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Public relations, journalism, communications, English
Training Required Internships or related work experience are common employer preferences
Key Responsibilities Promote and manage public's view of person, organization, product or service; create media or consumer awareness; write press releases, talking points and speeches
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (for all public relations specialists)*
Median Salary (2015) $56,770 (for all public relations specialists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do As a Public Relations Executive?

As a public relations executive, you'll be responsible for promoting, managing and maintaining the public's view of the person, organization, product or service you represent. You'll work with individual clients, company executives or both to determine the exact publicity-related goals you'd like to achieve. You may provide public information, create media or consumer awareness, diminish negative publicity or create positive publicity. Whatever the goal, your job is to achieve it through carefully crafted written, verbal or visual communication designed in some way for public consumption.

Public relations executives have a variety of methods for getting across the exact messages or images they'd like to convey. In fact, one of their most important job duties is selecting the most effective mode or modes of communication to meet publicity goals. To ensure that you choose the right one, you may research the demographics or retail preferences of target audience members or current consumers. You can reach the public directly through product launches, marketing campaigns, public information sessions and other special events. You can also seek media coverage - and the publicity that results from it - through promotional tools like press releases, press conferences, media alerts and press kits.

What Will My Working Environment Be Like?

Public relations is a broad field that can encompass journalism, marketing, politics and more. Because so many different companies need publicity, promotion and image management in so many different capacities, you'll have many options in terms of job type and work environment. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) identifies 16 different areas of professional interest for public relations executives, including sports and entertainment, education, finance, health, travel and technology (www.prsa.org). You may work for a for-profit corporation, a nonprofit charitable association, a government organization or various companies on a freelance or contractual basis.

While many public relations executives share common promotional goals and methods of achieving them, your area of professional specialization will dictate your job title and duties somewhat. Public relations executives in governmental positions, for example, may be known as public affairs specialists, and they may focus on disseminating political news, facts and figures to the public and media. If your work is freelance or for a company that exclusively provides public relations services, you might work specifically as an account executive and handle the publicity for multiple clients. In the public relations or advertising department of a firm or corporation, you'll likely use most of the methods described above to promote your company's products, services and general image.

How Can I Advance My Career?

Public relations professionals often start off as account executives and eventually be promoted to supervisory or corporate managerial positions. Some start out working for small firms and eventually switch to jobs with larger companies and more responsibilities. You can advance your public relations career through certification, membership in a professional association or both. The PRSA, for example, offers numerous seminars, conferences and networking opportunities to its members. PRSA membership also allows you to take the examination necessary to earn the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) designation, a professional credential available to PRSA members through the United Accreditation Board (www.praccreditation.org).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers include advertising, promotions and marketing managers, editors and market research analysts. Advertising, promotions and marketing managers oversee plans to cultivate interest in a brand or entity. Editors make sure publication content is free of errors and sufficiently executed. Market research analysts help businesses decide pricing and target demographics based on consumer and market reports and trends. All of these careers require a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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