Communication Specialist Job Description
Communication specialists write press releases and marketing materials, organize public relations events, manage website and social media content, and develop internal communications materials for various types of industries. These professionals are responsible for communicating a company’s services, products, and values to the public as well as handle correspondence within their place of employment. They can work for businesses, government offices, or nonprofit organizations. Communication specialists apply writing, editing, and research skills on a daily basis. They mainly work full-time, though some longer hours might be required depending on a specific project or event.
Communication Specialist Duties and Responsibilities
Communication specialists work in a variety of industries. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary, but there are several core tasks associated with the job, including:
Write Press Releases and Oversee Website Content
One of the main roles of a communication specialist is to write press releases and prepare executive presentations or speeches. They are also responsible for writing and editing a company’s website content. Communication specialists produce articles on brand news, corporate announcements, product updates, and other relevant text to promote a company’s image and/or brand. They are often in charge of content that is released on social media, and contribute to marketing and promotional materials.
Organize Public Relations Events
Communication specialists assist in creating and coordinating PR events, such as radio contests, trade shows, and fund-raising events to promote products, project corporate images, or raise brand awareness. They arrange event locations, write up contest details, and oversee the creation of promotional products and giveaways. Communication specialists also work with media outlets to communicate details about product development or special events.
Manage In-House Communications
From newsletters to emails, communication specialists are responsible for all internal communications within an organization. In this role, communication specialists help to develop employee incentives, send email bulletins, announce staff news, and oversee event planning activities geared toward employees, such as luncheons or holiday parties.
Communication Specialist Skills and Qualifications
An outgoing personality, the ability to speak with people of various backgrounds, and a strong eye for detail are important traits for the communication specialist. Based on a review of online job postings, we have found that employers tend to look for candidates with the following skillset:
- Technical skills – communication specialists must have knowledge of various hardware and software applications and programs. It is also helpful for communication specialists to have knowledge of digital platforms and tools
- Project management – communication specialists should have a strong understanding of several project management stages, such as scheduling and team building
- Communication and interpersonal skills – communication specialists need strong verbal and written communication as well as above-average listening skills because they often interface with diverse groups of people.
- Time management – communication specialists often work in fast-paced environments and are consistently called upon to meet deadlines
- Detail oriented – communication specialists must ensure that all information being presented to the public is accurate and up-to-date
Tools of the Trade
Communication specialists should be comfortable with and knowledgeable about:
- Social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube)
- Microsoft Office (Word, Outlook, PowerPoint)
- Media monitoring/PR analytics software (Agility PR Solutions, Cision)
Communication Specialist Education and Training
Most employers seek job candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations, journalism, English, or a related area. Advancement could require one to hold an advanced degree in any of these subjects. Participation in a college or community publication could be helpful for those pursuing this career, allowing job pursuers to build a portfolio of articles, press releases, and other materials.
Communication Specialist Salary
A median annual salary for communication specialists is reported to be about $60,000, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those in the 10th percentile make close to $33,000 annually, while those earning at the top end of the pay scale can realize a yearly salary of more than $112,000.
The highest annual mean wages tend to be paid to communication specialists working for advertising or public relations firms, the BLS further reports. Communication specialists in the District of Columbia make the highest annual mean wage in the US at just over $102,000. Virginia (about $79,000) and California ($75,500) are listed at second and third, respectively.
A nine percent job growth rate for communication specialists is projected by the BLS from 2016-2026. Public image and opinion are important to all types of organizations and many employers will continue to rely on the expertise of a communication specialist to report on and portray that image. The growth of social media as a communication outlet will also lead to more opportunities for communication specialists.
Does it feel as if a career as a communication specialist is written in the stars? If so, and you wish to find out more about this occupation, review the resources listed below.
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) – described as “the nation’s largest professional organization serving the communications community”, PRSA offers networking and professional development opportunities for communication specialists and others in the PR field through webinars, live and online events, volunteering, and more.
For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations – communication specialists need to promote business interests, manage good and bad press, and find audiences through various types of media. This book explores all of these and more. Review case studies and interviews with industry experts. Written by the owner of a leading PR agency.
Ragan’s PR Daily – with sections devoted to social media, media relations, and marketing, this site offers news stories and blogs about PR industry trends, latest digital tools, best practices, and information about online training for communication specialists, PR specialists, and others in this field.
PR News Blog – what’s going on in the world of communications and public relations? How are current events impacting the communications industry? What can be learned by communication specialists and other PR professionals in relation to specific world and domestic events? You’ll find articles exploring these questions when you check out PR News.
O’Dwyer’s – a leading PR publication, O’Dwyer’s gives news about various areas of the industry, such as environmental, food & beverage, entertainment/sports, beauty/fashion, and travel PR.
PR Say – the blog of the PRSA, PR Say provides insight into building effective brand campaigns, how to pitch ideas, crisis management practices, PR writing tips, and other topics of interest for communication specialists. Some articles explore current events and how PR professionals can learn from them or how they impact the world of PR and communications.
Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional – learn more about the skills you’ll need to employ social media to get your message to the public. Understand how to use this outlet to build positive brand perception, know what customers want, and develop strong relationships.
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