How do you start a career in Public Relations and Media Management?
Public Relations Defined
According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the official definition in use today for public relations is “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” In short, PR is all about effective, targeted, two-way communications.
Media Management Defined
“Media management,” then, relates to how those two-way communications take place, which today increasingly occurs through online vehicles such as social media, videos, and digital news sources.
The Role of the PR Professional
At the intersection between public relations and media management sits the PR professional, who oversees the types of messages that are communicated and how they are disbursed to their target recipients. Effective publicity can make or break an individual or a company. As a PR professional, you will be in the driver’s seat to help people and organizations meet and exceed their visibility and profitability goals.
The Value of an Informational Interview
If you have never worked inside the field of public relations and media management before, you may not yet be certain PR is the right career choice. If this describes you, then you may want to ask a local PR professional for what is called an “informational interview” so you can learn more about what a typical day is like, what types of projects are involved, what skills and coursework are most useful, and other helpful advice. This type of information-gathering meeting can give you better insight into whether public relations and media management is a viable career choice for your background, interests, and skills.
Four Steps to a Career in Public Relations and Media Management
These four steps can help you work your way into a career in public relations and media management.
Step One: Get the right degree, or obtain relevant work experience. If possible, get a degree in public relations, journalism, marketing, business, communications and English. If this is not an option, taking an administrative position at a PR firm can substitute.
Step Two: Build your work experience. You can volunteer, seek out internships, apprentice yourself to working PR professional, take courses, and donate your time to local companies to gain experience in your field.
Step Three: Create your portfolio. Your portfolio needs to include relevant samples of your work from school, internships, and job placements.
Step Four: Begin your career. Here, you may want to strike out on your own and brome a public relations consultant or solopreneur. You can also start your own firm with a partner, work for an established PR firm or another option.
Generalist Versus Specialist
When you get to step four, you will have a choice between becoming a generalist or a specialist. As a generalist, you may oversee client accounts, coordinate strategy, or work at the executive levels. As a specialist, you may decide to focus on a specific niche within the PR field, such as social media management, or in a specific industry, such as finance or government. The most exciting part of your journey begins here as you tailor your new career to be the perfect fit for you!