Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Public Relations Officer
PR officers have one of the most enviable jobs in the world. They get to go to openings, events, parties, photoshoots and styling sessions all while rubbing shoulders with celebrity clients. But, it’s not always as glamorous as it sounds. Early calls, late night events, poorly planned tweets and last minute issues make this a stressful but rewarding job.
In this article we’re going outline everything you need to know about becoming a public relations officer.
What do Public Relations Officers do?
A public relations officer works beneath the PR manager. This junior role still has a lot of responsibilities though, usually overseen by their manager. A PR officer can perform many different tasks for their clients. Depending on the clients their company works with this could include organising particulars for events, pitching press releases to the media, organising photoshoots and styling sessions with designers and completing market research.
Where do Public Relations Officers they work?
PR Officers could work in a company or organisation within the marketing department, or they could work for a firm that handles external clients such as actors, musicians or theatre companies.
Depending on the industry they work in, their role can involve many different tasks, but all tasks will centered around managing and promoting a positive public perception of their company or client.
How much do Public Relations Officers make?
Depending on who they work for and with and how long they have been in the field they earn anywhere from $45,000 per year to $82,000 per year with the median salary sitting around $59,621.
Skills you’ll need
Public relations officers have to complete many different tasks in their job and a lot of what they need to do can be taught. However there are a few innate traits that will help you to succeed in this role.
Verbal and written communication
In PR your job revolves heavily around communication. You’ll be liaising with media outlets, photographers and various clients. So, you’ll need to have excellent verbal and written communication skills. You’ll have to write press releases that capture the reader and inspire them to run a story or do an interview with your client. You’ll also have to manage any PR mishaps such as a client tweeting something that hurts their public image, responding to media on their behalf and providing comments on anything related to your clients activities.
Creative problem solving
In this role you’ll often have to think on your feet, putting out theoretical fires as they start. Moving appointments, issues with shooting permits and fixing last minute problems as they arise is all a part of the role.
You’ll need to find ways around issues which can be challenging especially because with this role much of the tasks will be a one shot situation, you can’t always reorganise interviews for another time or move events, so you’ll have to roll with the punches and find another way.
If you enjoying planning parties, you’ll thrive in a role as a public relations officer. It often falls to the PR officers to manage the logistics of opening night events, launch parties and other PR activities. This means planning the catering, guest lists, invitations, red carpet photo opportunities and entertainment. The great part though is you’ll be at all the hottest events in town, but you’ll need to be ‘on’ while you’re there. Getting your clients to speak to the right people and fostering relationships with the media.
There is a lot to fit into this role and you’ll often be away from your desk while managing various tasks, so you’ll need to have excellent time management. Planning and plotting out your calendar and making sure you stick to your deadlines will make this so much easier. There are so many competing priorities when you work as a PR officer, often multiple campaigns running at once and a whole slew of clients to manage simultaneously.
Social Media Skills
Depending on your PR firm or the company you work with, you will probably have to do some social media as a part of your role, so social media skills will come in handy. You may be copywriting for the social media posts, creating content, shooting photos and videos, scheduling posts or advising on the overall content strategy and tone of voice.
A clear and up-to-date understanding of different social channels and the way they work is going to help you perform well in your role.
A lifelong learner
To work in public relations or really any marketing field, you’ll need to be a lifelong learner, someone who loves to hit the books. Because this field is one of the most diverse in terms of the tasks performed and it’s constantly evolving, with every social media update, google search change and new online or print publication coming out, you’ll got to always be on top of your game and learning new styles, strategies and systems as they come.
What do they study?
Public Relations Officers have many different paths they can take to their career. University degrees in communications or Journalism are one such path to this career. But as this is a junior role in this field, a Certificate IV in Marketing and Communications will give you all the skills you need to get started as a public relations officer.
The Certificate IV in Marketing and Communications can be studied completely online. You can start anytime and study from anywhere in Australia. It can take six months or twelve months depending on whether you choose to complete by standard or accelerated delivery.
In the course, you’ll learn how to;
- Make presentations
- Articulate, present and debate ideas
- Undertake marketing activities
- Analyse consumer behavior
- Develop and apply knowledge of communications industry
- Write complex documents
- Assess marketing opportunities
- Apply business risk management processes
- Implement customer service strategies
- Develop personal work priorities
- Build and maintain business relationships
- Promote products and services
You can learn more about the course here.
Once you’ve broken into the field and become a public relations officer, the next step in your career might be to become a PR Manager, or Marketing Director. Both are a step up in terms of responsibilities and salary. To level up to a management position such as these two, you may want to look at the Diploma of Leadership and Management or the Diploma of Marketing and Communications.
If you’re interested in knowing more about this exciting field, you can get in touch with our friendly course advisors and they will be able to help you plot out the career path that’s right for you.