The role of a public relations manager is to help a company, organisation or government agency maintain a positive public image. To achieve this, a PR manager will make use of a variety of media such as direct presentations, writing/reviewing press releases, monitoring social or political issues relevant to their client and preparing clients for public speaking announcements. PR managers will often have multiple projects to keep track of at once, and must often travel domestically or internationally to assist their clients. The skills required for public relations managers include problem-solving, writing and communication skills, organisational skills and a nuanced knowledge of social media.
Becoming a public relations manager generally requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in public relations or a similar field. These degrees are tailored through business or communications department at university/college. Many institutions will combine their public relations degree with another aspect of business such as advertising or marketing. A PR degree can often be altered to focus on either the creative or managerial aspects of PR. Furthermore, a bachelor’s degree in PR will often require the completion of a hands-on project that students can then use in their portfolios.
On top of earning a degree in Public Relations, it is also advised to join associations such as the Public Relations Society of America, to open a path for networking and career development opportunities.
Gaining work experience is the most essential part of becoming a public relations manager. It is advised to join a public affairs firm, or another company with a focus on public relations, at an entry-level position and work your way up, gathering relevant skills and insights along the way. Professional accreditation is an important way to advance in the field, and work experience will equip you with the correct tools to receive it.
Accreditation, although not always required, is extremely useful in verifying experience and knowledge in PR. Accreditation is offered by organisations such as the Public Relations Society of America, and requires several years of experience, membership and the passing of an exam. This accreditation is looked upon positively by public affairs firms, and can pave a path to favourable job opportunities as a public relations manager.
Those aspiring to become public relations managers are advised to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a field relating to PR, before finding a suitable entry-level job and working their way up to their desired position through promotions.
Desiree Peterkin Bell is a leader in public affairs strategy. To find out more about Desiree Peterkin Bell’s public affairs firm, DPBell & Associates, and her services, visit her website.