In this edition of our series on interesting freelance careers, we’ll be covering the position of a public relations manager. In the information age, the image of a company matters as much as the quality of its products and services.
Social media is mandatory nowadays, and it provides a way for companies to share all kinds of things about themselves with the world. That’s why good PR managers are sought after more than ever before.
What does a public relations manager do?
Public relations managers have all kinds of responsibilities, all stemming from the overarching task of projecting a good and positive image of the client for whom they work. The most common task is providing information for the media by writing press releases.
PR managers are also the people who arrange and manage interviews with people who work at the company. This includes identifying good spokespeople for specific issues and preparing them for those interviews.
PR managers might be overseeing all kinds of external communication. That includes newsletters, activity on social media and sometimes even company events. The person responsible for PR is often expected to have a general strategy – that includes identifying what the overall image of the company is, analyzing how it could be better and implementing steps to make it so.
Last but not least, PR managers are the ones who handle how a company deals with crisis situations. If something goes bad, it’s up to them to give it a positive spin or find an appropriate way to admit possible mistakes. PR managers try to minimize damage to a company’s reputation and do everything they can to restore it afterward.
Public Relations (PR) manager responsibilities and tasks:
- Consulting and support to clients and internal departments
- Market analysis
- Plan and coordination of communication strategies and campaigns
- Organize interview and press conferences
- Create and manage press releases
- Take care of clients’ public image
- Implement and constantly improve public relation strategies
- Handling any potential public crisis situation
- Create promotional material: product brochures, press communications, etc.
- Budget planning for public communications and events
Looking for a PR Manager?
Education and experience needed to become a PR manager
There are several academic programs that relate to the job of PR managers. That includes degrees in:
- Public Relations
- Social sciences
- Communication and Marketing
Degrees in Advertising or English (or the mother tongue of the country in which you’re applying) are not as closely related, but still relevant.
However, you don’t necessarily need a degree to apply to a PR manager position. It’s not an entry-level job, so it still requires experience. If you have been managing external communication for a company for several years, you can be considered as having enough experience to apply as a PR manager.
Important skills to be a great PR manager
First of all, as a PR Manager, you must be an expert communicator. That means being able to provide clear, concise statements that are easily understood. It also means you should have a knack for public speaking. If you’re the one person who, once a presentation starts, is able to put all their nervousness aside, you have one of the core skills necessary to becoming a PR manager.
You’ll not only be expected to verbally express your thoughts in a convincing way but also be proficient in writing them out as well. Even today, most of the communication a PR manager does with the outside world is done via written text. Whether you’re issuing out press releases, newsletters or even posting on Facebook, writing skills are crucial to this position.
And last but not least, a good knowledge of social media and generally, digital marketing is another core skill for PR managers, right now. Any company, small or large, probably has a social media presence of some kind. And if they have the resources and are willing to hire a PR manager, they probably expect them to manage those as well. So you’ll need to know the inner workings of different kinds of social media and be able to utilize them to your client’s advantage.
So, what are the most demanded skills by PR experts?
- Communication and writing skills
- Understanding of media relationships
- Knowledge of social media platforms
- Creativity and ability to create powerful presentations
- Organizational skills: multitasking in events
- Proactive and responsible
- Great public speaking skills
Who is looking for PR consultants?
As we’ve already covered, Public Relations consultants are needed in pretty much any company. This is true regardless of the field of work as well. Tech companies do PR, but so do construction companies. Media companies and agencies, in particular, are likely to have an increased demand for PR consultants, but that is true for start-ups as well. Freelancers who are looking to become PR consultants can expect very diverse opportunities.
What is the need for freelancers in a PR manager position?
PR managers are usually in-house employees. With that being said, a lot of companies will look for external experts when starting up. That is when they need to identify and build an overarching PR strategy, meaning that there totally is work on a project basis. Additionally, companies who are facing an image crisis, whether because their reputation naturally deteriorated overtime or a particular event caused it, offer an opportunity for external experts to come in.
What does PR managers earn?
Beginner PR managers receive around $40,000 per year while more senior profiles can receive up to $90,000 per year, on average. This sets the average rate at $58,000. PR freelancers charge between $30 – $65 / hour.