A Public Relations (PR) Officer is mainly responsible for the management of an organisation’s reputation and image. They are in charge of producing campaigns to promote the company and its products and services to their clients. This is achieved through the use of effective communication and media tools such as newspapers and social media.
Day-to-day activities / duties and responsibilities
- Speaking publicly at presentations, press conferences and TV interviews
- Writing press releases and distributing them accordingly
- Dealing with press and public enquiries (face-to-face, through email or over the phone)
- Boosting the organisation’s reputation in the eyes of the public through proper marketing research and user engagement strategies
- Using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to build lasting relationships with customers and the general public
- Examining and interpreting media coverage of the organisation
- Building and maintaining relationships with journalists and editors
- Devising PR strategies and campaigns and implement them successfully
- Taking photographs during events to be used in marketing materials
- Producing brochures, leaflets, newsletters and presentations
- Editing and managing the organisation’s website, blog and social media channels
- Working closely with colleagues and senior management
- Working closely with third-parties and stakeholders to promote the organisation
- Assisting with the organisation of events such as open days, press tours, conferences, sponsorship and exhibitions.
- Carrying out any other tasks assigned in relation to marketing and sales
- Controlling the budget and writing reports
Workplace and working hours
The normal working hours for this job role is 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. However, this may vary according to the organisation and you must be prepared to work on the odd weekends or have early starts and late finishes if there are deadlines to be met.
You will spend most of your time in an office environment working in large firms located in big cities such as London, Birmingham and Edinburgh. You should, however, be prepared to travel some distance in order to attend conferences, interviews or PR events.
Salary for a Public Relations Officer will normally start at around £18,000-£20,000 per annum and will increase up to £40,000 with relevant work experience.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
Qualifications and entry requirements
There is great competition for most of the jobs in the Marketing industry and this job role is no exception. Even though there are no fixed entry qualifications, the majority of employers will require you to have at least one of the following:
- A degree in Public Relations, Marketing, English, Politics or Business
- Apprenticeship and/or relevant work experience in the field
- Nationally recognized certificates or diplomas in PR
Skills and personal attributes
- Exceptional Writing Skills: Writing is an important part of the role in which you will write for blog posts, websites, social media, etc.
- Public Speaking: You will be regularly presenting in events, shows and conferences and therefore you must have confident presentation skills
- Excellent Communication Skills: You will be regularly communicating with individuals; whether it is dealing with customer enquiries, engaging with the press or liaising with colleagues on PR campaigns
- Team work: You must be able to work well in a team as you will usually be a part of a small, interconnected team which heavily relies on your support and expertise
- Being organised: Being able to organise your workload, multi-task and meet critical deadlines is vital for the success of the organisation
- Working under pressure: It is important you are able to work under pressure during times of crisis and meet tight deadlines, ensuring that you keep a positive attitude throughout
- Attention to detail: Your ability to pay attention closely to detail is important when analysing media coverage or when editing the organisation’s website and social media information
- Interest: You should have a genuine interest in media in general and in public relations in particular, in order to carry out the role effectively
Job likes and benefits
- Achievement: This role allows you to use your inner creativity to identify new opportunities that can help the organisation progress; giving you a sense of achievement.
- Enjoyable: Even though you will mostly be based in an office you are unlikely to face boredom due to the constant interaction you will have with other people.
- Experience: You will gain valuable work experience that can be used to progress into many other job roles within the business, marketing, media and management sectors.
Job challenges and disadvantages
- Working under pressure may become challenging as you are required to multi-task and meet tight deadlines, sometimes at a very short notice.
- Work and social life can often merge into one. The successful candidate should be aware of this and be able to deal with the consequences of this reality.
- Travelling is an essential part of the job therefore this job may not suit those who are unable or unwilling to travel or relocate from time to time.
Opportunity, career prospects and job progression
There is no doubt that the Public Relations industry has increased in popularity and therefore, it is very competitive. For this reason, you are required to have relevant work experience and some sort of qualifications to strengthen your application.
Those that can secure a job position will be provided with the opportunity to work for a range of organizations such as private companies, educational institutions, charities or government bodies.
If you are working as a PR Officer for a large company, you will have the opportunity to progress immensely to managerial or executive position within a few years time.
Alternatively, you can choose to work as a freelancer and become self-employed.
The career prospects and job progression are limitless!
Charted Institute of Public Relations