Role and Requirements for Public Relations Professionals
"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers."
Those words, spoken by historian Daniel Boorstin, have never been truer than in today's
corporate climate. Those who are dedicated to their public relations careers find
themselves always "on"; always working to promote their company. They miss no
opportunities to ensure the message is heard at every turn. Gone are the days of public
relations being solely for the celebrities.
PR, or public relations, is a must for large companies, however, many feel their PR
departments are the "cure all" and fix any public scandal or problem that emerges. This
simply is not true. A good PR person can certainly affect the public's view on the company
announcements. From being accused of hiring illegal immigrants to a very public and
scandalous affair among company leaders, the public relations department can often
determine how it plays out in the media and ultimately how quickly it becomes yesterday's
news. It's not surprising that experienced PR personnel usually do quite well when
negotiating salaries and bonuses.
The better the relationship between your company's PR department and the media, the
more advantageous it is for the corporation. If you cannot depend on your public
relations representative to successfully pull off a media release regarding labor
relations or any other uncomfortable event, then it is time to reconsider your choice for
your company's media contact. To say this person must be likeable, convincing,
authoritative and even physically attractive is an understatement. It is an unwritten and
unspoken rule, personal appearance including being healthy, "camera friendly," and
physically attractive counts.
PR specialists have many titles, including public affairs representatives,
communications agents, company points of contact and many others; but it still comes down
to the one person who acts as the liaison between a company and the general public. He or
she must be well versed, objective, convincing, remain cool under pressure and must, at
all times, provide thorough information.
It is a fine line between revealing too much about any particular subject while
providing enough not to appear as though anything is being hidden from the public.
Often, the PR representative is the bearer of bad news, but there are many times
your company PR agent provides good news from a company standpoint. New contract
awards, which translate into new jobs; expansion announcements and other information
that is of the public's interest offset the times when bad news is broken.
Other responsibilities of a public relations specialist include research, providing
input for company manuals, including employee guidelines, remaining current with global
issues to ensure company representatives aren't traveling to unstable international areas,
coordinate company films for new employees, schedule conventions and tradeshows and many
write bid proposals for their companies. Many PR reps find themselves providing statistics
and other confidential information during shareholders meetings and staff meetings.