Media relations is the proving ground for most entry-level PR new hires. It’s a skill where you cut your teeth. You learn to write press releases, pitch media, hold press conferences, and report results.
As you advance in your career, you may begin to develop a specialty. Here are some of the career paths that may change the scope of your PR career.
Crisis communications expert – Not everyone in PR is a crisis com expert. It may take at least five years or more to begin developing enough crisis experience for you to effectively counsel clients in an emergency. Experience is key to developing this crisis specialty. Once you have a variety of crises under your belt, you can begin to draw from that history and apply that knowledge to new issues.
Media trainer – Providing media relations counsel is one thing, but it takes a unique skill set to become a media spokesperson trainer. It helps to have a journalism background on your resume. You also need to be engaging as a presenter to hold the attention and confidence of your trainees.
Celebrity publicist – Red carpets, magazine cover shoots, and TMZ. For a publicist, sometimes the client can be the most challenging part of the job. The skills you need as a publicist can range from solid media contacts on your speed dial to personal confidant, advisor, friend, and therapist.
Public information officer – If you hate cold calling the media, have them come to you. A PIO usually has the media requesting interviews or public data. This job can be with a government organization such as a police department, government agencies, or even the military. Sometimes you may have to help reporters collect data who want to write negative stories about you. It’s all part of the job as a public servant.
Internal communicator – Your audience is company employees. The process of communication is still the same. You need to get the right message to the right subset of audience to produce a specific outcome. Internal communications specialists can help build the culture of a company. And remember, employees are also brand ambassadors.
Investor relations – I am not good with numbers, which is why I chose communications as a major. Investor relations for a public company focuses on financials, earnings results, and business forecasts to give stock holders the information they need. It’s an important function to not only make sure your company is compliant with the SEC, but also to encourage capital investment so your company has the cash flow to grow.
Political consultant – Ready for the campaign trail? Every year, a record amount of money is spent on political campaigns. Political consultants make sure the right message is reaching the right audience. You may also develop advertising plans, seek political endorsements, write speeches, and build candidate messaging platforms.
Content development – Are you the best writer in your shop? Many PR pros develop into a career specialty for their writing ability. It may be speech writing, op/eds, advertisement copy, or self-publishing. Every account team knows who is the best writer in the building. It’s a good idea to be nice to them.
New business development – The gift of golden words. New business experts usually have years of experience and background to draw from. They instill confidence, trust, and a top level strategy that a client is willing to pay for. To be successful, you need top notch presentation skills. You also need a high caliber skillset in persuasion, salesmanship, and the ability to clarify business objectives with a laser focus.
The PR Wars “Comms 101″ segment recognizes core communication principles to help you become a better communicator.
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