There are many careers that fit under the umbrella of public relations. While the most common career path is in publicity, you may also choose to work as a press secretary for a politician or a corporation, or you may work as a media specialist putting out press releases to the media outlets for the government or a corporation. Most people who work in public relations have a degree in communications, journalism or public relations.
If you work in publicity, you are usually helping someone or a company maintain a good image in order to sell their brand. Many entertainers have publicity agents that help them promote their next movie, television show or music release. Along with promotion, publicity agents sometimes have to deal with scandals and know how to quickly react to help maintain their client’s image so they can still sell their product, which is themselves.
Large corporations also hire public relations personnel to help them maintain a good image with the public and to put out press releases to introduce new products or help them deal with news about their business. Politicians, such as the Prime Minister, will also have public relations personnel that help them issue statements about legislation or breaking news stories. They will prepare statements that are released to media outlets locally or around the world, depending on the situation.
Increasingly, crisis communications specialists are becoming essential for corporations and the government. A crisis specialist acts as the official spokesperson when a crisis occurs within a corporation or when a crisis involves the general public. A crisis may include a terrorist attack on a city, news about an infiltration of computer systems by hackers or a fire at a company’s headquarters.
Communication skills are essential skills to possess as a public relations specialist. You should be able to write well and present information orally when necessary. If you intend to study public relations, you will need to take classes to help improve your writing skills so you can write effective press releases to break news to the media or to help maintain a client’s image.
Oral presentation skills are also needed for some publicity careers as some press secretaries will present information to the media after news breaks. Oral presentation skills can be honed in speech classes, so you learn how to be more confident and less nervous when presenting information to a group of people. Breaking bad news to the media is the wrong time to start sweating or show nervousness, especially in a public crisis situation.
Many schools offer public relations management courses so students can earn their degree and work in public relations at any level in private business or for the government. Whether you work as a PR assistant for an entertainer or a public relations manager for a large corporation, these courses will teach you the necessary skills to be successful in your career. Public relations can be an exciting career choice for people who develop effective communication skills.