When you come across a company’s name, perhaps in conversation or while reading an article, what do you think of the organization? Would you consider becoming a customer or client? How the public perceives a company is the responsibility of a communications wizard, creative thinker and outstanding writer: the public relations manager.
Public relations managers help strengthen a favorable reputation for a brand. They share key company messages with the public, highlighting its mission and purpose, latest achievements, new products and services, and exceptional corporate culture and staff. They’re responsible for getting positive attention on these topics and engaging with their company’s target audiences.
To make sure an organization is seen in the best possible light, public relations managers require great communication and writing skills. These communicators lead various initiatives, from issuing press releases to developing executive presentations and internal newsletters to securing media interviews.
And the position can be a very fast-paced and rewarding one. “Media habits are constantly changing as new technology and social platforms emerge and evolve, and PR professionals have to stay on top of current trends,” says Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “Despite the pressure to keep up, it’s an exciting time to be working in public relations. PR teams are playing a more integral role in shaping brand awareness and perception, alongside Marketing, which helps drive business growth.”
Here’s a look at the typical job description and salary expectations for a public relations manager.
Public relations manager salary benchmarks
According to The Creative Group 2018 Salary Guide, the midpoint starting salary for a public relations manager in the U.S. is $79,500. Because salaries can differ significantly depending on the city, use our Salary Calculator to find out what a public relations manager can make in your area.
Public relations manager duties and expectations
A public relations manager’s main goal is to enhance an organization’s image. They do so through a variety of strategies, including establishing relationships with influencers and members of the media to generate positive coverage, issuing press releases to highlight new offerings or achievements, and managing production of internal communications and external thought leadership.
In most cases, the following responsibilities can be expected:
- Implements and oversees strategies to generate positive publicity
- Develops effective media relations programs to generate news coverage, including pitching stories and key messages to influencers and media members, organizing events and press conferences for media promotion, and preparing media kits
- Manages production of internal and external materials, like press releases, infographics, newsletters, guides and reports
- Writes speeches and creates presentations for executives and company leaders
- Oversees and develops strategies for emergency and crisis communications
- Shares organizational developments and achievements within an organization through an internal communication network
- Communicates key messages to current and potential alliance partners and investors
Professional experience and skills
What’s the top skill public relations managers must have? Outstanding communication skills. Their job depends on how well they can relay messages and engage with the public. They are masters of clear and concise writing, AP Style guidelines and grammar rules. Additionally, they need strong collaboration skills, as they often work with different departments, like creative, marketing, web and legal teams, to develop and execute campaigns.
The ability to multitask, prioritize and provide exceptional customer service are also essential for public relations managers. They need attention to detail, creative thinking and the ability to work under pressure – public relations managers are often on tight deadlines to respond to reporters or deliver messages in a timely manner. Additionally, expertise in event planning, social media and search engine optimization is helpful.
Most employers hiring for public relations managers look for professionals with five or more years of public relations experience, whether that’s in an agency or corporate setting. Previous experience in the journalism field is a plus. A bachelor’s degree in public relations, communications, English, journalism or marketing is preferred.