If you have a unique understanding of social media and audiences, you might be suited for a career in public relations. Our how to become a PR manager guide covers the optimal education, training and skill development path you can take to kickstart your career.
You’ll also find salary insights, projected job openings, expert advice from a seasoned PR professional and access to PR manager resume samples.
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What Does a PR Manager Do?
A PR manager must build trust and a positive relationship between a particular business, its clients, and the general public. All organizations, whether public or private, require a PR manager so you can find yourself in various business sectors.
Typical duties and responsibilities include:
Develop and maintain their organization’s professional image and identity.
Engage with social media across traditional and new platforms.
Create content, such as writing and reviewing press releases, byline articles and presentations.
Evaluate PR results, including monitoring and communicating these regularly.
Understand industry trends and how they affect clients and recommend communication strategies.
Creates and manages the public perception of an organization by managing effective communication and media relations through different media platforms.
Help corporate leaders prepare for public or media appearances.
Assign, supervise and review the activities of the public relations and marketing staff.
How Do You Become a PR Manager
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is an 8% percent increase expected through 2031 for PR managers. This translates to an estimated 9,100 job opportunities annually, especially as an aging workforce leaves the industry.
If this job market appeals to you, here are six steps to becoming a PR manager.
Step 1: Sign up for public speaking classes and clubs.
Most PR manager jobs require a bachelor’s degree. To develop these practical skills, consider signing up for high school and college clubs that help you develop public speaking skills, such as debate, theater, student government, mock trial or Future Leaders of America. At the same time, you learn the academic principles of public relations.
Step 2: Earn an appropriate bachelor’s degree.
There is no specific bachelor’s degree for a PR management job. A growing number of universities do offer a public relations degree, but you’ll want to research how comprehensive the programs are. You should also consider a bachelor's degree in communications, journalism, media studies or business.
Step 3: Consider a master’s degree.
To further develop your business and public relations knowledge, consider a master’s degree in public relations, journalism, or nonprofit management. Register for classes in advertising, marketing, business administration and creative writing to help you develop crucial technical and soft skills for your career.
Step 4: Register for a public relations certification.
Most states or employers don’t require public relations certifications. However, most PR certifications are issued by well-known professional associations like the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators. These certifications help elevate your application and open networking opportunities with potential employers and future colleagues.
Step 5: Work your way up the PR ladder.
Entry-level positions in this field are usually supportive roles to PR officers, account managers and spokespeople. They typically do the groundwork for PR campaigns. Five to 10 years of experience is generally required to advance to a management position.
Any business experience is beneficial; however, public relations is most relevant to a PR manager. Try an entry-level opportunity like an internship. Internships are available upon completion of a degree and candidates can then work their way to management positions after they have gained the relevant work experience.
Step 6: Apply to a PR management opening.
A superior and well-crafted resume that showcases your skills effectively is the first step to any successful PR manager job search. You can study our PR manager resume samples for guidance on constructing yours.
After your resume is complete, search online for PR manager job opportunities. At this point, contact the professional network you have built up, including those you met through internships, to look for opportunities.
PR Manager Skills
Hard skills: :
Insights from a PR Manager
What is the common career path for PR Manager?
This really depends on this area you decide to work in: agency vs. nonprofit vs. B2B, etc. Generally, it'll go something like: Intern to PR Associate to PR Coordinator to PR Manager.
What should someone consider before becoming PR Manager?
As the media becomes more digital, the attention span of reporters, journalists, experts has become shorter, meaning you need to perfect your pitching skills in order to gain their attention. This industry has changed so much over the last 10 years – 90 percent of what I learned in school is now obsolete. Be ready to learn on your feet and be adaptable.
What type of person excels in this job?
A great people person that can write well and get to the point! The best advice I can offer anyone looking to enter this field is that you don't have to be perfect at everything. Your skills will develop and your methods will change – experiment with new approaches, but be ethical. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses. Don't be afraid to ask for help and be honest.
What are some of the most important skills for PR Manager to have?
PR professionals are conversation starters unafraid of rejection. We are communicators, storytellers and promoters. Skill-wise, other than writing, you'll need great organizational skills especially if you're working with multiple clients with multiple deadlines. Time management skills are necessary as well – always be mindful of other people's time. Honesty – it seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people overlook this so they don't risk looking bad. If you're asked something and you don't know the answer, be honest and let the questioner know you'll find out and get right back to them. You have a better chance at building their trust this way. Work ethic. Don't go into this field thinking you can just skate by – you can't. Bring your A game to the table everyday.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a PR Manager?
Personally, I love the relationships I've built with people. Seeing my employer/client published is also absolutely rewarding along with knowing that all the hard work paid off. Just remember, there's always another story and another event.
How Much Do PR Managers Get Paid?
The median annual wage for a PR Manager is $119,390 in May 2015. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $56,890, and the top 10 percent earned more than or equal to $187,200 per year. The list below will include BLS data for the top 10 states for median wage from highest to lowest.
Top 10 States for PR Manager Salary
PR Managers in the following states make the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.
PR Manager Resources
For more information to continue or explore a career as a PR Manager, we have put together a list of additional resources for you.
On the Web
relevant and up to date blogs to public relations practitioners
Solo PR Pro
Provides resources on how to become and remain a successful freelance PR consultant.
Professional Development for PR and Marketing Pros
SHIFT Communications Blog
Learn how to increase public relations successes considered most effective for your business objectives, with services including Earned Media Advertising, Digital Syndication and Social Media.
Public Relations Society of America
Is the world’s largest organization of public relations professionals. This site provides professional development and advocates greater understanding of public relations services on business and professional issues.
International Public Relations Association
A transnational public relations society that improves standards of public relations practice worldwide. It represents individual professionals, not agencies or companies.
International Association of Business Communicators
Includes information about accreditation, awards and employment opportunities.
PR Management Books
The New Rules of Marketing and PR
provides communications professionals with a step-by-step guide to connect with consumers using the latest communications tools.
this book focuses on demographics and audience engagement tactics for six major social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.
The Art of Crisis Leadership
this book details how to prepare for, navigate through and recover from crises using real-life examples of people and companies that lived through them.