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A Day in the Life of a Public Relations Specialist

Public Relations specialists working together - Tulane SoPA

As a public relations (PR) specialist, every day is a new challenge filled with exciting opportunities to shape a company's public image.

From creating compelling press releases and coordinating media interviews to managing social media campaigns and crisis communication strategies, a PR specialist's role is dynamic and demanding.

But with careful planning, attention to detail, and a passion for effective communication, a day in the life of a PR specialist can also be both fulfilling and rewarding.

To help you prepare for your future in public relations, the Tulane School of Professional Advancement (Tulane SoPA) is here to bring the industry to your classroom and prep you for a typical day on the job.

What Is a Public Relations Specialist?

A public relations specialist is a communication professional responsible for maintaining the positive reputation of a business, individual, or brand. They typically serve as the bridge between the company and the public, ensuring that the organization's message is consistent and conveyed effectively across all communication channels.

Juggling a variety of tasks, PR specialists also:

  • Promote and oversee public relations programs
  • Write press releases
  • Maintain relations with the media, and
  • Handle crises when they arise

Public relations specialists need a diverse skill set for success in the fast-paced field, but perhaps the most critical include proficiency in written and verbal communication. To build mutually beneficial relationships with the public, investors, and other stakeholders, PR professionals must be adept at leveraging various communication channels, including news outlets, social media, and other digital platforms.

Where you can find work

Many PR specialists pursue jobs in public relations and advertising firms, providing their services to a range of clients. Others find their calling in the corporate world, working for large organizations to manage their communication strategies and promote their products and services.

But the opportunities don't stop there.

Almost every job sector today requires some form of public relations to effectively communicate with the public and create a positive public image. After earning your public relations degree, you'll be able to find work in just about any industry, with common ones including:

  • Education
  • Nonprofits
  • Government, and
  • Politics

No matter where you choose to put your skills to work, your daily responsibilities as a PR specialist will largely remain standard across industries, from communicating with the media to pioneering community engagement efforts.

Work Day at a Glance

A normal day in the life of a PR specialist is ever-changing, with each day presenting new challenges and opportunities.

This means you'll need to think on your feet, adapt to changing circumstances, and work well under pressure.

Formulate PR strategies

One of the primary responsibilities of a PR specialist is to develop and implement PR strategies that will enhance the reputation and visibility of their clients or organization. This starts with conducting market research and identifying your target audiences and ends with a fully-fledged, detailed plan for the execution of the strategy.

As part of your PR strategy, you'll need to consider how you'll communicate with key stakeholders, determining the right message and the appropriate channels for dissemination, such as social media, traditional media, or direct communication with stakeholders.

The blueprint for how you share your clients with the world, a PR strategy takes thought, calculation, and a couple of clearly defined goals to effectively meet your audience and raise brand recognition.

Manage media relations

Maintaining relationships with the media is a key part of your job as a PR specialist, whether it's with journalists, bloggers, or influencers.

This involves identifying opportunities for media coverage, pitching stories to journalists, coordinating interviews and press conferences, and responding to inquiries as they arise. By helping your clients become more visible in the media, you'll be fulfilling the responsibility of generating brand awareness and driving more interest from the public.

To successfully capture the media's attention, you'll need to understand the public's needs and the interests of each unique outlet. While building solid and trustworthy relationships with members of the media takes time and effort, it offers significant benefits and is pivotal in getting your brand known by the masses.

Respond to crises

When faced with a crisis, how a business, political figure, or any other affected entity responds can make or break its reputation in the eyes of the public.

Whether it's a minor financial crisis or something notoriously disastrous like the 2010 BP Oil Spill, a PR specialist is there to avoid negative publicity by responding quickly, assessing the damage, and effectively managing the situation. Not only will you be tasked with informing all interested parties about the crisis, potential risks, and plan of action, but you'll also maintain this communication throughout the aftermath and respond to media inquiries when they arise.

From natural disasters to reputational ones, you'll be required to think and act quickly and ethically in the best interest of your client or company. This means always being prepared for the unexpected and knowing you may have to put your crisis communication cap on at any point of the workweek.

Promote community engagement

Being involved in the community often reigns in good publicity.

Showcasing the humanity of a brand, community engagement offers the public a glimpse into your values and mission — one that isn't so focused on reaching a certain sales quota.

As a PR specialist, you'll be tasked with developing and implementing programs that address the community's needs while also benefitting your company or client's image. Oftentimes, these include events like charity fundraisers to raise money for a good cause or volunteer days to help a nonprofit reach a particular goal.

By organizing community involvement activities, you'll demonstrate your commitment to social responsibility and increasing brand awareness, all while doing your part to give back to your community and those who make up it.

Create content for the media

While speaking with the public is a significant job duty in public relations, written communication is just as important as verbal communication on the day-to-day job.

Crafting compelling content for various media outlets is crucial in keeping your brand recognizable and memorable, a task that relies heavily on creative and strategic thinking. Your writing skills will be put to the test as you develop press releases, social media posts, featured stories, and other promotional materials that capture the attention of the media and the public.

When drafting content for the media, you'll need to always have a strong understanding of your target audience and the ability to tailor the messaging appropriately and consistently.

Career Outlook for Public Relations Specialists

If you're interested in an exciting career as a public relations specialist, you're at an advantage in today's job market. Bustling with opportunity, the PR field is projected to grow 8 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average across all occupations, with 247,000 job openings expected each coming year.

PR specialists also earn a fairly good salary, with the average annual pay in the U.S. at $62,800 as of May 2021. However, this can vary based on factors such as industry, location, experience, and level of education, with the top jobs paying up to $100,000 per year.

Become Job-ready with a Public Relations Degree

If you're in the market for a fast-paced career that allows you to build socially responsible and beneficial relationships between organizations and the public, then a public relations degree or professional certificate is the step you need to break into the field.

From PR strategy development to media relations and crisis management, Tulane SoPA's hands-on, industry-relevant curriculum can prepare you for a PR specialist's unique challenges and opportunities.

Your future in PR awaits. Apply now to start paving the way toward a successful career.

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