I will tell you what skills and knowledge a PR specialist should have, as well as list his tasks, rights and responsibilities.
What is Public Relations Manager?
A Public Relations Manager creates and maintains a positive image of a company or brand. To do this, he can perform different tasks, but basically it is communication with different types of target audience, including clients, partners, investors, media, government agencies, etc.
In large organizations, such an employee is also responsible for communication among the internal public – these are the bearers of corporate culture, that is, existing, former and potential employees, as well as their families and relatives. The PR specialist lives in the advertising, marketing department or press service, depending on the structure of the company and the tasks assigned.
Main tasks and responsibilities of Public Relations Manager
The goal of the Public Relations Manager is to create and maintain a positive image of the organization in the representation of all the target groups covered. Based on this, it is possible to identify the main tasks that allow achieving this goal:
- Development of a communication strategy, PR concept and promotion strategy. This also includes the work on the main documents that regulate the principles of internal and external communication.
- Creation of a plan and forecasts of PR-activity. Yes, it is absolutely necessary to justify the planned actions, show what results they will lead to and how much it will improve the image of the organization. By the way, media and content plans are somewhere else here.
- Formation and approval of the budget (together with management). Unfortunately, PR is a thing where costs cannot be calculated to the nearest penny, because prices are constantly changing, some new tools are constantly appearing. And if there is any crisis … Unplanned costs cannot be avoided.
- Interaction with media representatives. This includes journalists, editors, as well as authors and bloggers who work independently. They should be contacted in advance so that a press release or review can be issued quickly and without delay if necessary.
- Work with content, preparation of various materials for publication or distribution. The PR specialist often controls the nature of the content published on social networks and other sites of presence. Accordingly, he works with an SMM manager, editor, copywriter and designer.
- Organization of image events, promotions, advertising and PR campaigns. A specialist can be involved in the conduct of events. In some companies, he is engaged in the search for contractors and people himself, but somewhere he simply controls the process, let’s say, “kicks” the right people. If a PR manager has already established communications with different people in advance, then it will not be difficult to find resources and attract professionals.
- Analysis of the effectiveness of the actions taken. Collecting and calculating KPIs, generating reports and charts… This is a tedious, huge, dreary, but mandatory job, without which a PR specialist will not prove that he is working for good reason.
- Competent response to crisis situations. It is the PR manager who must determine how the firm will or will not inform the public about the occurrence of the crisis and the solution to the problem. Somewhere they can hire a separate manager to deal with crisis situations, but this is rare, since large financial investments are required in finding and hiring a qualified employee.
- Monitor competitor activity. This is essential for at least two reasons. The first is that if competitors are up to something bad, you will immediately understand it. The second is benchmarking, that is, zyring and tyring. If they have implemented something interesting, you can take note of the idea, brainstorm and improve your own proposal.
Naturally, a PR manager does none of the above alone – he should always be assisted by a team. And how effectively a specialist copes with all this is an indicator of how well the staff is selected and how a PR specialist knows how to delegate. But that’s a slightly different story… Let’s get back to the PR manager!
What should a Public Relations Manager know and be able to do?
Of course, education is the foundation for career advancement, but you can become a successful PR manager without having a “crust” with you. To do this, you need to have a number of skills that will allow the employee to respond correctly and in a timely manner to various situations, make the right decisions, and also determine the communication strategy.
Next, I will list the main skills that a specialist will need to successfully move up the career ladder as a PR manager.
Such qualities are indicated in vacancies when looking for Public Relations Manager in a company. This includes the following knowledge:
- SMM, even rather understanding the features of social networks and the specifics of their target audience.
- Proficiency in English. In some cases, other languages may be required – it all depends on the regional characteristics and the direction of the organization.
- Internet advertising.
- Lead generation.
- Marketing and web analytics.
- Project management skills.
- Planning advertising and marketing campaigns.
- Work with specialized software. This includes ownership of Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrics, as well as Yandex.Direct and Google Ads.
- Theoretical knowledge in marketing. This can be found in the public domain, in different books.
- Ability to work with spreadsheets, most often in Excel or Google Sheets.
It is rather difficult to measure these qualities, all the more so objectively it cannot be done in any way. For example, the same creativity can manifest itself in different ways, another thing is whether you will agree with the management and other employees. It is worth focusing on your own feelings here. But I can say for sure that in order to successfully realize yourself as a PR manager, you must have the following “soft” skills:
- Initiative. This, as for me, is the basis for moving up the career ladder. And about who a PR specialist can become in the future and where else he can go, I’ll tell you a little later.
- Sociability. You will have to communicate with people a lot and often, while trying to make a good impression. Therefore, in addition to communication skills, we will add a neat appearance, skills in diction, maintaining eye contact, understanding verbal and non-verbal signals. I won’t say that this is strictly necessary, but oh, how it will help in establishing contact.
- Creativity. Where without it, especially the current advertisers and PR people …
- Curiosity, as well as the ability and desire to constantly learn. As Vladimir Ilyich said, you need to study, study and study again.
- Presentation skills. Under the presentation we take a broader meaning, namely the ability to clearly demonstrate facts, figures, so that the audience understands you and does not get bored or distracted. The presentation, of course, should also be beautiful, but the matter is not limited to it alone.
- Efficiency. We understand it as follows: we gave a response to the journalist in time, responded to the crisis situation in time, applied the trend in time, used technology in time, and so on.
- Teamwork. You still have to work and work with these people. And if there is a tense atmosphere in the team, then any work will be a burden, regardless of the area under consideration. Therefore, do everything possible to establish contact with colleagues, make friends with them as much as possible, and at least maintain a dialogue.
- Time management. No comments are required here. I can only advise you to read another article in the Community on this topic in order to be in the subject.
Pros and cons of the profession
To understand whether it is worth going to PR or not, I will list several advantages and disadvantages of this profession. According to the classics, I’ll start with the advantages:
- High demand in the labor market. In any case, you will find a vacancy on recruiting sites. By responding as often as possible, you can quickly find a good job with decent pay.
- Good wage. If you are a teapot with no experience, do not expect that you will immediately be paid a lot. But as soon as the level of your knowledge and competencies increases, the salary will begin to grow. Remember – it is important to be proactive, and not only in requests for higher wages.
- Prospects for growth. In the future, you can easily move into a leadership position if you have the potential, or you can open your own PR agency.
- The ability to move to any other area. After working at least a year as a PR specialist, you can easily go into marketing, advertising, product analytics, even journalism or production.
- Permanent asset, “drive”. You will communicate with different people, attend all kinds of events like press tours, briefings and so on.
In short, expand your horizons and list of contacts, learn a lot of new things and understand the specifics of the work of advertising, marketing and PR departments in different companies. And if you gradually move to a large organization, you will be able to study the market in your region well.
It would seem that some too perfect picture. But this profession also has disadvantages, and now I will tell about them:
- High competition. Well, yes, there are many vacancies on recruiting services, but there are also plenty of specialists. Proof of this is my flow at the university. 120 people on one course alone, and there are three more … To succeed and distinguish yourself from the rest, you need to constantly hone your skills, learn, learn about trends and establish contacts with people.
- By the way, about contacts – without them, nowhere. If you are an introvert, do not like to communicate, or like to often abstract from people, it is better to think about moving to another, but related field. For example, advertising and marketing, namely positions that do not require frequent communication.
- It follows from the previous one – this is the need to independently establish contacts with the media, and from scratch. This connection must be maintained and expanded, otherwise all the work will be in vain.
- In small firms, creating and raising an image is difficult. The exception is if you are not using a creative, unique communication strategy. But even this does not guarantee that the brand will definitely be remembered and, moreover, will not be forgotten.
- In the same small organizations, the PR manager also performs other tasks. For example, he can lead social networks, write texts or create other content.
- Efficiency. Although this is the main requirement, personal time may also suffer because of this. If an urgent or even crisis situation arises, it will be necessary to react, even if you are on vacation. Therefore, be prepared for an irregular work schedule and the need to constantly be online to discuss important and sometimes not very important issues.
Who else can work
Having received higher education or having worked from 1 to 3 years in the PR department in low positions, you can go to the following positions:
- General PR manager. Here you will specialize in both public relations and marketing and advertising activities. The coverage is wider, but you will have to take on more tasks.
- Public Relations Specialist. More highly specialized – you will delve into the development process and maintaining the image and reputation. Everything is clear in working with images, strategies and concepts, with almost no focus on sales.
- Press secretary. Not the most demanded profession and, unfortunately, the most underestimated. Suitable if you like to contact the media more than work in them.
- Marketer. Here, the emphasis is more on the implementation of the product, while PR is more aimed at creating and promoting the image of the company. If you like working in sales, without departing from statistics and analytics, you can go to marketers.
- Advertiser . Here you will be more responsible for the development and organization of advertising campaigns. Often, work with statistics is excluded here, except for the collection of data on the results of promotions, nothing more.
- Event Manager . After studying at a university, it is easy to go into organizing events, since the training programs allow you to get at least minimal knowledge on this topic. By the way, you can create events in your own company or go completely into this niche. There are not so many good event organizers now, fresh heads will come in handy.
- Copywriter . For those who prefer to work with texts and not deviate from commerce. She herself started with copywriting, for a start or work while studying, it will do.
Public Relations Manager is a promising profession. Even if you don’t go to work as a PR specialist, you can, with an education and at least a little experience, be realized in any related field. The main thing, as for me, is the choice of direction and field of activity. Commerce, media or government agencies? Business, IT, society or science in general? Choose and keep!