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Looking to the future of public relations

Public relations is full of opportunities but can be narrowed down to two major responsibilities: promoting and protecting brand identities (Chi, 2018). PR professionals work with both individual clients and large corporations on building and maintain reputations through various avenues of communication. If we follow the PESO model for earned forms of communication, PR professionals should work through Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned forms of media or advertisements (Luttrell, 2018). With so many possibilities to extend a brand’s reach within its industry, the PESO model offers a variety of avenues to explore natural and promoted marketing.

As someone who will be entering the working class within the next year, it seemed fundamental to understand where the industry currently stands with job titles, employment statistics, salary and expectations of employees. Graduate school has been vital to my integration into the public relations field and has provided a variety of new skills to add to my resume, including the use of media to engage audiences. In an effort to better understand how my education is relevant to working PR professionals I have conducted some research on what to expect in the coming year as I begin my career in public relations and how writing press releases, public speaking, promoting media coverage and analyzing content using the PESO model can best be used in a future public relations career.

Public Relations “Officers,” “Assistants” or “Coordinators”

Average Salary: $36k-$49k

75% female vs. 25% male

Preferred Backgrounds: marketing, communications, public relations, social media marketing

Experience Level: 1-4 years

An entry level position stand to enter the field with a disadvantage of experience. All of the tools I am currently learning in the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications Public Relations graduate program are setting me on the path to success for entering this field. Among job requirements are content creation, team support and publicity campaigns. This type of job may also include setting online standards and updating information for all clients. As a first step to entering the public relations field, it is also required that these positions interact and form positive relationships with the public, stakeholders and the media. Additionally, planning and creating media related to events are common as well as how the team will react to media publicity and the client’s image.

Public Relations “Associate” or “Specialist”

Average Salary: $44k-$53k

72% female vs. 28% male

Preferred Backgrounds: contract negotiation, account sales, data analysis

Experience Level: 1-4 years

These mid-level requirements include training new recruits and bringing on new clients. This job title means working closely with client accounts and providing direct customer service to ensure the client’s satisfaction with the public relation’s team and anticipating the client’s needs. As an associate or specialist, the expectations to create new content for business opportunities across social and media platforms increases with the need to develop plans for promotion and client services. The mid-level work being done by professionals with these job titles and others craft client responses and anticipate possible outcomes, both positive and negative, that may affect their clients.

Public Relations “Director” or “Manager”

Average Salary: $71k-$83k

76% female vs. 24% male

Preferred Backgrounds: management, communications, sales coordinator, project management

Experience Level: 10-19 years

Once you have reached the management level, the expectations move beyond just the team’s success in meeting client needs. The ability to adapt to fluid situations and manage the team in times of crisis are vital to the success of the team and the client. Additionally, management positions should be especially concerned with language that fits the clients many target audiences and maintain aware of cultural sensitivities for both the team and the client. Job responsibilities also increase to managing the team as a whole to plan and execute special projects and media relations. This is a key role in the management and maintenance of the client’s image in a positive and desirable position within its direct field of work and with its stakeholders.

Some of the most popular locations for PR professionals begin with Seattle and San Francisco, also including Washington, D.C. and New York City (Chi, 2018) with various locations across the world as public relations is the type of work that is done within every industry and across platforms. Public relations work strives to boost the client’s reputation and brand reputation (Oetting, 2018) whereas marketing is concerned with sales. The two are best when working together to create a brand that stakeholders can identify with and desire to buy into.

With the list of job titles and opportunities as well as understanding the expectations of these various roles within public relations, it is easier to understand how this graduate degree in public relations will move me closer to my overall goals within the field. To be successful, PR professionals should practice good communication, have strong writing skills and be creative in managing projects and clients.

I have much to look forward to as my education comes to an end and working as a public relations professional quickly approaches.



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Adam Ontiveros-Oberg
Adam Ontiveros-Oberg
06 de nov. de 2018

This post is interesting to me. I think that it is incredible that there are such differences in potential earnings, incomes and other benefits that come from working at various levels of various companies throughout the public relations field. Having some knowledge of what the field currently looks like is incredibly valuable, and for that I thank you for your post! I also don't know why, but I was surprised to learn that the west coast (Woo!) had such a bustling PR industry, even as far north as Seattle. Given the American Northeasts seeming monopoly on large companies, it seemed to me that there would be more here, by necessity. Either way, though, fantastic idea for a post.


Hi Lacey,

Great post! I think this was an awesome idea for a blog post considering we will all be entering the public relations career field soon and starting our search for these kinds of jobs even sooner. It seems that much of your research pertains to the agency or communications/marketing firm side of PR. Knowing that I will be starting to search for PR positions in other areas, this makes me wonder what the requirements are and what the salary looks like for those types of jobs. It's comforting, though, that what we are learning in our grad school curriculum is setting us up to be top notch candidates for these positions you listed. I feel as though we…

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