While marketing representatives have their eyes set on sales, public relations executives focus in on far less tangible business factors. It's often said that reputation is everything, and for these professionals, that couldn't be closer to the truth.
Reputation is something built up over a great period of time, and any negative publicity or event could cause reputation damage that represents years of loss. Ensuring a company's reputation stays strong, public relations executives manage how the public views a product, service, or corporate image, and addresses any concerns that arise.
Public relations executives spend much of their days brainstorming ways to generate positive media coverage for the clients or companies they represent. This requires a deep understanding of the media and journalism in general, giving them the ability to pitch stories to journalists. They typically write multiple press releases each day to various media representatives, introducing new products or announcing initiatives at a company.
According to Indeed.com, several locations are experiencing demand for public relations executives. Some of these locations include:
The relationship between a public relations executive and a journalist is a shaky, but important one. Public relations executives must build these relationships over time, and find ways to communicate a company's message through a story.
If anything goes wrong at a company, the public relations executive is there to clean up the mess. Many times they're called upon to clarify a company's message or opinion about a situation, where they present a friendly face for their client.
Helping them through the public outreach process are multiple PR and marketing professionals, including:
The PR world is extremely fast paced, meaning public relations executives must be able to change direction, juggle multiple clients at once, and keep up to date on breaking news. They should be the first respondents to any sensitive situation, and can answer questions confidently and accurately.
Usually, public relations executives earn at least bachelor's degrees in public relations, though some come from marketing backgrounds. Many companies want their PR executives to go on to earn master's degrees with time, but this varies on a case-by-case basis. Overall, a proven record to managing public opinion at a company is the greatest indicator of a PR executive's effectiveness.
Public relations executives are well paid at a company, depending on size and number of clients. The average salary for a public relations executive at a large company in 2012 was $179,000, with many earning even higher salaries.
If you're interested in learning more about a career managing corporate image, contact schools offering degrees in marketing or public relations.