Public relations (PR) is about managing reputation. This career field aims to gain understanding and support for clients as well as to influence opinion and behaviour. PR officers use all forms of media and communication to build, maintain and manage the reputation of their clients. These range from public bodies or services to businesses and voluntary organisations. They communicate key messages, often using third party endorsements, to defined target audiences in order to establish and maintain goodwill and understanding between an organisation and its public.
PR officers monitor publicity and conduct research to find out the concerns and expectations of an organisation’s stakeholders. They then report and explain the findings to its management.
Typical work activities of a Public Relations Officer:
- A PR officer often works in-house and can be found in both the private and public sectors, from the utility and media sectors to voluntary and not-for-profit organisations. Some PR officers may be based in consultancies.
- The role is very varied and will depend on the organisation and sector. Tasks often involve:
- planning, developing and implementing PR strategies;
- liaising with colleagues and key spokespeople;
- liaising with and answering enquiries from media, individuals and other organisations, often via telephone and email;
- researching, writing and distributing press releases to targeted media;
- collating and analysing media coverage;
- writing and editing in-house magazines, case studies, speeches, articles and annual reports;
- preparing and supervising the production of publicity brochures, handouts, direct mail leaflets, promotional videos, photographs, films and multimedia programmes;
- devising and coordinating photo opportunities;
- organising events including press conferences, exhibitions, open days and press tours;
- maintaining and updating information on the organisation’s website;
- sourcing and managing speaking and sponsorship opportunities;
- commissioning market research;
- fostering community relations through events such as open days and through involvement in community initiatives;
- managing the PR aspect of a potential crisis situation.