Public Relations Wisdom from John Branca Harvard and Other Tips

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Many entities rely on having a good public relations or PR approach. Whether you lead a nonprofit organization or big business, a PR strategy is a crucial part of your success and visibility, and celebrities are no exception. Professionals who work in public relations are tasked with drawing media attention to their clients to help promote their initiatives, campaigns and new projects. According to Attorney John Branca, PR professionals are often mouthpieces for their clients and expected to speak publicly on their behalf. Here are some things to know about a career in public relations.

Understanding Your Job

As a public relations specialist, you’re expected to persuade or convince others to buy in to what you’re selling, promoting or advertising, which is usually your clients and their interests. Your client’s reputation is the main focus of your effort, and your job will likely include the following:

  • Drafting press releases
  • Arranging and coordinating public appearances and activities for clientele
  • Preparing responses to mitigate bad press or notoriety
  • Maintaining relationships between your clients and other organizations
  • Connecting clientele with key people and entities
  • Building, expanding and maintaining a client’s social media presence

As a PR professional, you’ll need to have strong oral and writing skills. Creativity, organization and interpersonal skills are also extremely critical to your success in this role.

Getting an Education

To work in PR, you usually need to have a bachelor’s degree in one of several majors, including marketing, communications, business, journalism or public relations. There are a variety of degree plans out there with different focuses. Some programs may emphasize gaining global perspectives while others may specialize in social media technology and digital communications. Consider where your interests lie and look for schools that offer the type of education that best aligns with your goals.

Entering the Business

As with many careers, experience is often necessary to get your foot in the door. Many PR professionals get their start through internships, either in this field or related industries, such as marketing. Entry-level positions in PR firms rarely require you to be the public face of a celebrity or organization. You have to learn the ropes through formal training and under the direct supervision of an experienced mentor. Expect to spend hours doing basic, behind-the-scenes work such as clerical tasks before you’re given more visible assignments.  

Making Dollars and Sense

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for PR professionals was approximately $62,000 in 2019. The 90th percentile earned $118,000+ on average while the 10th percentile earned below $35,000. The field is expected to grow by 7 percent over the next decade making it one of the fastest growing industries. More entities will require the experience and expertise of public relations specialists to represent them to the public and help them draw positive attention, as well as craft promotional messaging.

For many people, public relations firms and professionals make the world go around. As a PR expert, you’re expected to leverage a number of skills to help advance and protect your client’s interests where the public is concerned. Getting started in the business usually requires a bachelor’s degree and relevant experience. PR jobs are on the rise and the increased demand across a range of industries makes this a career worth pursuing.