What are the various types of public relations jobs? What are some of their roles?
We asked PR experts to provide us with some insights.
Table of Contents
- Social Media Specialist
- Brand Strategist
- Social Media Specialists
- Content Marketing Specialists
- Email Marketing Specialists
- Search Engine Marketing Specialists
- VP or Director Of Digital Marketing
- Crisis Management
- Digital and Creative Services
- Chief Buzz Officer
- Business Media Relations
- Brand and Reputation Manager
- Crisis Management Officer
- Digital PR – Outreach Professional
- Digital Public Relations
- Manager of the International Corporate Affairs
- Financial Media
- Media Relations
- Social Media Manager
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the most common misconceptions about public relations?
- What education and experience do I need to get a job in public relations?
- How important is creativity in a public relations profession?
- What are some challenges that public relations professionals face?
- What is the job outlook for public relations professionals?
Jonathan J. Mentor
Founder & CEO, Successment
This what most people think about when they envision PR. A publicist is critical to a marketing strategy as they are the ones who execute on brand strategy. Their most visible work is media outreach and relations.
They help brands get earned media coverage by carefully pulling an interesting story and pitching the angle to journalists and editors. The kind of visibility that publicists produce could be worth 10x as much as that of an advertiser who would pay to appear on certain mediums.
Social Media Specialist
This role involves managing the brand’s campaign and vision on social media mediums. Their role is highly analytical as they must determine the correct mediums to place emphasis on and the right kind of content to create engagement.
This role could also involve creating connections between the brand and social media influencers to amplify brand reach. A big part of their job is analyzing the feedback that posts receive and optimizing them for maximum exposure
These folks typically work across the entire marketing and sales department but have a special focus within PR. An enormous element of good PR is persuasive writing. A good copywriter assists with writing press releases, company announcements, social media posts, and website copy.
The most cutting edge technique in copyright now is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) writing. This kind of writing focuses on incorporating keywords into brand messaging in order to drive digital traffic back to a brand website.
This role involves analyzing the unique identity and position of the brand in order to appeal to a brand’s target audience. There is a lot of creativity involved in this role but it requires a highly analytical personality to be successful.
A good brand strategist will comb the market for competing brands and capitalize on their gaps in communication in order to capitalize upon that for the brand that they represent.
Principal, e-Strategy Media
During the past 10 years, public relations agencies and companies have increasingly added digital marketing to their capabilities. Within the digital marketing discipline, there are several job categories that have emerged.
Social Media Specialists
They are the most common type of digital marketing job you’ll find in public relations. These tend to be fairly entry-level positions. Duties for these jobs include creating content for and posting updates to social media channels, monitoring results, replying to any community responses and/or escalating any responses to appropriate client contacts, and reporting metrics and results to the client.
Content Marketing Specialists
They are responsible for creating content for social media channels, which can include written content, such as blog posts, case studies, and white papers; visual content such as photos, memes, gifs and infographics; and audio and/or video content.
These positions require the ability to create a variety of content formats and the skill to adopt diverse voices for that content.
Email Marketing Specialists
They own the email channel. These positions require design and coding skills to be able to create visually appealing and email templates that meet email marketing standards and best practices.
Additional skills include familiarity with email marketing service providers, A/B testing for conversion optimization, list growth and segmentation, and knowledge of nurturing campaign tactics.
Search Engine Marketing Specialists
They have the skills to optimize content that earns high visibility in search engine results and which generates website traffic that ultimately prompts a conversion action.
This position also often requires experience in implementing search engine advertising campaigns.
VP or Director Of Digital Marketing
These positions are responsible for new business development, digital strategy design, staff training and mentoring, and agency or company thought leadership.
Requirements for this position typically include 7-10+ years experience in all aspects of digital marketing; public speaking and presentation skills; the ability to craft data-driven digital strategies that accomplish business objectives; and the ability to interpret analytics and communicate results and insights in plain English.
Warren H. Cohn
Public Relations is an industry with many intricacies, and as we’ve seen the media industry grow in many facets, the industry is only expanding. At my NYC-based public relations agency, HeraldPR, we have a variety of positions and roles available to help suit all of our clients’ needs.
Aside from traditional public relations, there is also crisis management, which works to mitigate negative press, something that’s necessary for affluent individuals in today’s social climate.
Digital and Creative Services
We work alongside clients to develop and maintain brand messaging. This includes social media advertising, pay per click campaigns, website development, and more.
In today’s world I believe it’s important to host a variety of public and media relations services to manage branding, marketing efforts and traditional public relations all under one roof – that way we’re always in control and ahead of the narrative.
President & Chief Leonine Officer, ROAR | Author, Bite The Dog: Build a PR Strategy To Make News That Matters
Chief Buzz Officer
A PR job critical to today’s media and social media landscape is cultural and news trend-spotter. Public-relations placements hinge on leveraging what’s going on in the mediasphere and the marketplace to share a company’s or brand’s key distinctives.
It is more critical than ever today, in what is still a 24-hour news cycle but which is documented now in 24-second increments, to have someone whose job is not to pitch or place a client — but to survey and study the headline-generating landscape full-time to identify optimal entry points for that client to be pitched.
The ideal fit for such a job is not necessarily the ideal fit for a traditional publicist job. Publicists are persuaders; buzz agents need to be aggregators of the kind of news that is catching the attention or likely to catch the attention of journalists.
CEO, The Eisen Agency
Public relations is a large and often confusing confluence of a number of varying jobs and tasks involved.
It is as disparate as event management to crisis communications, and everything in between that helps a given entity quite literally better relate to its varied public – and the public with whom you are attempting to relate are just as disparate. From shareholders to existing customers, to media, influencers, social outlets, potential buyers and government.
A good way to expose yourself to numerous aspects of public relations is through working at an agency, simply because you will need to wear a number of different hats to manage the work needed by various clients.
Business Media Relations
Here, you are able to work with the client to develop editorial calendars, craft quality thought leadership, reach out to national business and trade publications, and facilitate interviews and coordinate articles being published.
Leveraging this press, then, is critical to business development and overall marketing of the company, so it’s rewarding to see the direct impact of market share based on the publicity.
The work is also fairly methodical, so unlike the controlled chaos involved in several public relations activities – perhaps most notably event management or crisis communications – b2b media relations is almost a nice break from the hectic nature of the job. You identify your topics, identify your media outlets and start making the connection.
Marketing Specialist, Market Mentors
Brand and Reputation Manager
Within the PR realm, the roles vary within different industries. Writing, distributing and pitching press releases are the bread and butter of a career in PR, but in today’s media-rich environment, it’s usually not enough.
It’s imperative to develop mutually beneficial relationships with the media, and PR pros are also required to have extensive experience with social media as well as brand and reputation management.
Crisis Management Officer
Some positions focus more on publicity, talent and event management, while others require expertise with crisis communications. With the ultimate goal of growing and strengthening a brand over time, strategy development and the ability to see the ‘big picture’ is also required.
While general knowledge across all of these skill sets is helpful, practitioners can also hone their expertise and specialize in a specific area or industry.
For example, one professional may be a PR generalist representing a variety of clients across multiple industries, while another focuses exclusively on crisis management for health care clients.
Outreach Team Lead, Portent, Inc.
Digital PR – Outreach Professional
With the importance of SEO in the increasingly digital landscape of business, the need for Digital PR is increasing. Traditional PR methods are becoming more SEO savvy, and Digital PR specialists are meeting this need.
Also called “Outreach,” the Digital PR pro helps ideate and create content and then promotes it widely to relevant media outlets, in hopes that the outlets covering their content link back to their client’s content source. Outreach specialists also answer journalist queries on behalf of the brand, asking for a link to their client in return.
Not only is the backlink of benefit to the client from an SEO perspective (backlinks increase organic search visibility and are an indicator of authority to search engines seeking search results in the client’s space,) but also, brand mentions drive brand awareness and authority in the client’s industry.
The search landscape is moving quickly and businesses who don’t take advantage of a Digital PR pro are missing a key component of their business’s online success.
Digital Public Relations
For 2019 and beyond, there is a new kind of PR professional emerging, and they don’t have established journalism contacts or industry insiders. Instead, they are savvy and use journalism sourcing services to find PR opportunities.
Because we have moved beyond the newspaper, it’s time to think digital. How do you get exposure in 2019? You rank for keywords. You dominate social media.
Digital PR is two birds with one stone: almost every time you get your brand placed, you score a backlink which pumps your company up to higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs). These high SERP rankings are just as if not more important sources of traffic than the PR placement itself.
Founder & Principal, PR Consult
Manager of the International Corporate Affairs
I worked on everything from managing crisis, such as accusations of illegal trade and copyright issues, to working on the social media policies for the organization. The best part of Public Relations is the fact that we do get to do a little bit of everything within a company and can help contribute in many ways.
I now work for myself as a consultant with organizations, large and small, helping them with their media relations, social media content and overall communications strategies.
Principal, Signals & Strategies
There are as many PR jobs as there are audiences: Consumer, business-to-business, public affairs, government affairs, investor relations, entertainment, food, lifestyle, on and on.
Then there are the specialists — the media relations people, the writers, the strategists, the electronic media experts, the social media experts, the administrators and most important of all, the bean counters.
Billable hours is still where it’s at. People with broad experience are more billable — and are more likely to keep their jobs.
The one quality I look for when hiring is the ability to learn quickly. That’s why journalists —especially general assignment reporters at newspapers make the transition from news to PR so easily. One day they’re working on murder, the next they’re working on a county budget.
No matter how knowledgeable you might be on a subject or industry, you still need to be able to develop messages for those audiences — that means the ability to write.
I work with a lot of insurance and financial industry media. They hire experienced journalists because they can already write. Learning insurance or financial products, while complex, is doable. But not everyone can write.
Naturally, some jobs are more fun than others. While a surprising number of PR people are terrified of it, I have always liked media relations. I like pitching stories. I’m good at it because I won’t waste the media’s time with nonsense. When I call, they answer the phone because they know it will be worth their while.
Strategy and new business are also interesting. You get to learn about new industries and develop programs that are effective and creative enough to beat the competition.
However, I do loathe the paperwork. But it is necessary. I remember one of my earliest bosses telling me that fully a quarter of my time should be devoted to reports writing and record keeping. The older I get, the more right he gets.
Partnerships Manager, Glamping Hub
Social Media Manager
One of the best types of Public Relations is creating positive and creative media exposure for your company. By partnerships or collaborating with writers and editors from top tier publications is one of my favorite parts of the position.
Not only does this type of PR create exposure for your brand, but it also allows different audiences to learn more about the business, the people, and the story, creating brand awareness and trust with consumers. Ultimately, this creates a community.
Working in this type of PR setting not only motivates and creates a positive environment, but it allows you to track the progression of a company or brand through the evolution of content and creation over the years. When I first started, we were focusing on the popularity of treehouses and safari tents.
Now at Glamping Hub, we cover anything from where to take a road trip to stay at shipping containers next to national parks to where to glamp near Game of Thrones film locations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most common misconceptions about public relations?
Many misconceptions about public relations can make it challenging to understand what the field is all about. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about public relations:
Public relations is all about publicity: While it involves cultivating an organization’s public image, it’s not just about getting media coverage. Public relations professionals also handle internal communications, crisis management, and stakeholder engagement.
Public relations is only for large organizations: Public relations is important for organizations of all sizes, from small businesses to nonprofits to multinational corporations. Smaller organizations have an even greater need for effective public relations to compete in a crowded marketplace.
Public relations is all spin: While it’s true that public relations professionals work to promote a positive image for their organization, they don’t just spin the facts. Public relations professionals must be truthful and transparent in their communications to build trust with their audiences.
Public relations is all about socializing: Although networking and building relationships are important in public relations, it’s not just about socializing. Public relations professionals must be strategic and able to deliver results for their clients or employers.
Public relation is an easy job: Public relations can be a demanding and challenging profession that requires a combination of strategic thinking, creativity, and relationship-building skills. Public relations professionals must be able to manage multiple projects and deadlines and adapt quickly to changing circumstances.
Public relations is a complex and multifaceted field that encompasses much more than publicity or spin. Understanding what public relations is really about will help you better appreciate the important role public relations professionals play in building and maintaining an organization’s reputation.
What education and experience do I need to get a job in public relations?
A career in public relations usually requires a degree in communications, public relations, marketing, or a related field. However, relevant work experience can be just as important as formal education. Here are some ways to gain experience in public relations:
Internships: Many public relations firms and organizations offer internships to college students or recent graduates. These internships provide hands-on experience in public relations and can be a valuable stepping stone to a full-time position.
Volunteer: Nonprofit organizations often rely on volunteers to support their public relations efforts. Volunteering can be a great way to gain public relations experience and expand your network.
Entry-level jobs: Entry-level positions such as communications assistant or public relations coordinator can be a great way to gain experience in the field. In these positions, you’ll typically assist senior staff and can take on tasks like writing press releases, organizing events, and managing social media accounts.
Networking: Building a strong network of contacts in the public relations field can help you find jobs and advance your career. Attend industry events and join professional organizations to meet other PR professionals and stay current on industry trends.
How important is creativity in a public relations profession?
Creativity is paramount to a successful career in public relations. Public relations professionals must be able to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas for campaigns and events to capture audiences’ attention.
Here are some reasons why creativity is important in public relations:
Attention-grabbing: In a crowded media landscape, public relations campaigns must be memorable. Creative ideas that capture the audience’s imagination are more likely to be noticed and shared.
Differentiation: Creative ideas help organizations stand out from their competitors. PR professionals can help their clients or employers differentiate themselves in the marketplace by developing unique campaigns and events.
Engagement: Creative ideas are likelier to engage audiences and elicit a response. Creative ideas can inspire your audience to take action, whether you’re sharing a post on social media or attending an event.
Adaptability: Creative ideas can also help PR professionals adapt to changing circumstances. When they think creatively, they can develop strategies and campaigns that respond to emerging trends or crises.
What are some challenges that public relations professionals face?
Public relations can be challenging, with many obstacles to overcome. Here are some of the most common challenges public relations professionals face:
Changing media landscape: the media landscape constantly evolves, and new platforms and technologies continue to emerge. Public relations professionals must be adaptable and stay abreast of the latest trends and technologies.
Managing reputation: Maintaining a positive reputation can be challenging, especially in the age of social media. Public relations professionals must be vigilant and respond quickly to negative feedback or criticism.
Crisis management: In a crisis situation, public relations professionals must act quickly and decisively to protect their organization’s reputation. This can be a high-pressure situation, and often the stakes are high.
Balancing competing priorities: Public relations professionals often must balance competing priorities, such as maintaining media relations, creating content, and responding to stakeholder needs. Time management and the ability to set priorities are essential.
Measuring success: It can be challenging to measure the success of PR campaigns, especially when there are no clear metrics. Public relations professionals must demonstrate the value of their work to their clients or employers.
What is the job outlook for public relations professionals?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of public relations professionals is expected to grow 8 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due to the increasing need for companies to maintain their public image in a highly competitive business environment.
Here are some of the factors driving public relations job growth:
Social media: social media has become an indispensable tool for public relations professionals, allowing them to connect with their audiences and respond quickly to crises. As social media grows in popularity, so will the demand for skilled PR professionals who can manage social media accounts and create engaging content.
Globalization: many companies are expanding their operations abroad, creating a need for public relations professionals familiar with international communications and cultural differences.
Crisis management: the increasing frequency of natural disasters, cyberattacks, and other crises has created a need for public relations professionals who can respond quickly and effectively to protect their organization’s reputation.
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