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.