Public Relations Director Job Description
Public relations directors manage the creation of marketing messages that positively raise the public image of their employer or clients. They ensure that company brand content is consistent, well timed, and newsworthy. Every day, they direct strategies for clients, juggling several balls at a time. For example, a director may focus on establishing media relationships, arranging interviews, crafting public statements, handling emergency communications, writing talking points, creating press kits, and more. Public relations directors generally work full-time as the head of a PR company or corporate communications department. They travel often to give public presentations and connect with key individuals. They normally report to a CEO or VP of communications or marketing.
Public Relations Director Duties and Responsibilities
While public relations directors’ day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:
Manage Other Publicists and Marketing Staff
Public relations directors manage other publicists, media connections, project managers, and marketing personnel to make sure that the publicity goals are being accomplished. They oversee the practical implementation of unique, targeted strategies that help their company get maximum return from their campaigns
Create Press Release and Media Alerts
Public relations directors spend the majority of their day drafting press releases, brochures, media alerts, online blogs, and more. In order to complete these items, they research fellow competitors and media networks and examine the outcome of recently released PR campaigns.
Formulate Brand Stories
Public relations directors refine the core messages and narrative of the brands they work with. They drive a positive story, strategy, and public image of their clients, creating consistency in all areas of communication. They develop strategies, guiding clients in important decisions and day-to-day operations.
Develop PR Plans
Public relations directors develop PR plans alongside operations and marketing teams. They lead a collaborative group of advertisers, marketers, and promoters to ensure image positioning for major industry events and tradeshows is properly integrated. Their job is to utilize their media savvy with print and broadcast mediums for promotions in advertising. They create best practices for rapid response to threats in the news cycle.
Publish Visually Branded Content
Publishing videos and photo ops on company websites, blogs, and across social media, public relations directors build the online presence of their clients, documenting the organization’s presence at speaking engagements, conferences, and events.
Public Relations Director Skills and Qualifications
Successful public relations directors are strategic thinkers who enjoy collaborative leadership and storytelling. Employers seek creative candidates who have five or more years of marketing communications experience and possess the following abilities:
- Media relations strategy – to effectively influence decision-makers to promote their brand, public relations directors understand how broadcast media and its various audiences work
- Digital and social media marketing – as digital outlets, such as social media, increase in importance and traditional media become less relevant, public relations directors use digital media to stay on-top-of cutting-edge strategies for their clients
- Spokesmanship – public relations directors strongly advocate on behalf of their company and clients across various media channels and vehicles
- Communication skills – since successful PR campaigns rely on persuasive storytelling, strong speaking and writing skills are essential
- Project management – successful public relations directors simultaneously manage multiple publicity projects with tight deadlines
- Computer skills – to perform research, submit press releases, perform digital marketing, respond to emails and more
- Interpersonal skills – successful public relations directors easily create and maintain relationships with people
- Multi-tasking ability – as public relations directors work on multi projects in a fast-paced environment with tight deadlines, speed, flexibility, and adaptability under pressure are good traits to have
- Organizational skills – public directors get paid for results and must stay organized to drive the projects and initiatives to completion
Tools of the Trade
Public relations directors work in an office environment and are comfortable using the following software and equipment:
- Computer operating systems (Windows and Macintosh)
- Microsoft Office Suite tools (Word, PowerPoint)
- Social media marketing tools
Public Relations Director Education and Training
Employers of public relations directors normally require a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of five years of practical field experience. A degree in English, marketing, or public relations can be helpful but is not necessary. Employers primarily look for demonstrated experience in conceiving, strategizing, and executing successful publicity campaigns that achieve objectives and create noteworthy results.
Public Relations Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for public relations directors is $111,820. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $61,130 while the highest ten percent earn more than $208,000.
The BLS has predicted a job growth rate of 10 percent through 2026, which is faster than average for all occupations. Their growth will be driven by the need for companies to protect their positive public image because social media has increased the speed at which positive and negative news travels.
There are many helpful resources for those interested in becoming a public relations director. Check out these links that are full of learning opportunities and the latest industry news:
Public Relations Society of America – The PRSA job center will help you whether you are just starting your job hunt or preparing for your next interview.
The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly – A valuable step-by-step guide that trains public relations professionals to connect with consumers using the latest communications tools.
Public Affairs Council – Search the latest public affairs job announcements and career opportunities from businesses, associations, and firms.
Platform: Get Noticed in A Noisy World – An easy-to-read guide that shapes the operations of many public communications departments.
Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era – Media & brand expert Antony Young highlights how innovative marketers use the latest media tools to quickly grow brands.
The Art of Crisis Leadership: Save Time, Money, Customers and Ultimately, Your Career – It is essential for aspiring PR directors to know how to navigate and recover from crisis situations; this book will give you those skills through real-life examples.
International Public Relations Association (IPRA) – The IPRA is one of the world’s most influential associations for senior international public relations directors.
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