What Does a Public Relations Officer Do? (Duties and Qualifications)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 22 November 2022

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Most companies and organisations pay close attention to the public's impression of their brand. Because of this, many use public relations professionals to manage their public interactions and messaging. If you are interested in a public relations career and you are also interested in developing your leadership skills, a role as a public relations officer might be right for you. In this article, we discuss what a public relations manager does and some important skills and qualifications for becoming one.

What Does A Public Relations Officer Do?

A public relations officer is a professional who works in the public-facing communications of a business or organisation. They often occupy administrative or executive positions in their organisations, and they work with a team of public relations specialists. Public relations officers might work for private companies, nonprofit organisations or public institutions such as governments and schools. They might also work independently for a public relations firm, offering consultation services to their clients on a contract basis. Public relations officer interacts with the press and the public on behalf of their client, a business or organisation. They handle the following tasks:

Establish communication goals

They establish how much and what type of communication their client has with the press and public. If their client wants transparency with the public, the public relations officer can develop a plan for which media outlets they communicate with and what tone their communications have. They establish a standard of communication that they can use with all public communications in the future. If the client wants to improve their public image, the public relations officer can work with them to establish a more positive image.

Assess their company's or client's public image

They can examine polls, read reviews and monitor their client's online presence to determine the company's or client's public image. When a public relations officer beings working with a client, they may review previous press releases and public events to determine how the client has handled press and public relations in the past. This assessment can help them determine how best to proceed with the media and if they want to make alterations to their public image.

Companies constantly want to improving their brand recognition, so a public relations officer can provide unique insight and give recommendations for how to do so.

Develop press releases

A public relations officer can write press releases, which are documents an organisation shares with the press to inform the public about their actions or new initiatives. The organisation may determine the contents and subject of the press release. Still, it is the responsibility of the public relations officer to choose the wording and the tone of the press release to present the information most appropriately.

Write speeches

If a client has to give a speech at a conference or the press, the public relations officer may write the speech. Like with developing press releases, the client may determine what the subject of the speech is. Still, the public relations officer uses their understanding of phrasing and public perception to write a speech that gives the perception the client wants to present.

Additionally, the public relations officer may determine when a client gives a speech based on changing public perception. For example, if a client cares about a specific cause, there may be a current news event that they want to comment on to bring attention to the cause.

Correspond with news media

The public relations officer's role involves giving and receiving news from the press. For example, if there is news about a client that the press plans to publish, the public relations officer may use their connections to find out what the news is and when the press intends to release it. They use those same relationships to communicate information that the client wants to share with the public.

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Review marketing material

Public relations and marketing departments have many duties concerning interacting with the public and their client's perception. A public relations officer may work with the marketing team to develop marketing materials that represent their client in the desired way. They also make sure that all marketing materials align with the public relations goals they set for their client.

Respond to public events and inquiries

Clients may receive invitations or information about public events, in which case it is the public relations officers' job to determine what events their clients attend and how to respond to invitations they choose to decline. Additionally, if a client has an event, the public relations officer may handle the guest list, sending out invitations and managing attendees at the event. They are also responsible for all press inquiries the client receives, and they determine which inquiries are valuable and what responses their client sends.

Public Relations Officer Qualifications

Here are the qualifications of public relations officers:

Education

Many public relations officers have bachelor's degrees in media, communications journalism or public relations. It is also common for public relations professionals who want to pursue advanced career positions to earn a master's degree in public relations. Studying these subjects can help you learn the skills you can use to succeed in this career and build essential relationships you can use to progress your career and help you create a list of contacts of media members.

Experience

To progress as a public relations officer, you can start with experience in an entry-level position. You can work as an intern while getting your degree and get some preliminary experience in this position. You can also apply for related jobs like an event manager, which can help you build contacts and skills that can help you become a successful public relations officer. With a few years of experience, you can gain familiarity with the media and the duties required of a public relations officer. Then, you can apply for more advanced positions in public relations, like officer or executive.

Read more: Guide: How To List an Internship on a Resume

Skills

Here are some skills that a public relations officer uses:

Communication

Public relations officers leverage strong written and verbal communication skills to succeed. They communicate with internal contacts, such as team members and other company departments, and must ensure all communication conveys their objectives as clearly as possible. They also communicate with the public as part of their regular duties and try to use these communications to develop a positive image for their company. Public relations officers frequently communicate using direct dialogue, public speaking, written documents such as press releases and emails and social media posts and interactions.

Media relations

Public relations officers interact with media members to promote their products, encourage good publicity and respond to events that might involve their company or client. It is important for these professionals to understand the way news outlets work and how to work with them most effectively. They are the primary point of communication between their clients and the press, so they craft statements to provide the press with information the client wants to share. Public relations officers foster relationships with press members, so they stay informed and can easily share information.

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Marketing

The public relations role sometimes overlaps with its marketing operations, so it is important for a public relations officer to understand both. They might work collaboratively with leadership on their company's marketing team, for example. They might also monitor their organisation's marketing activity to ensure it supports a positive public impression of the brand and make suggestions if necessary.

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Conflict resolution

Sometimes a public relations officer's client may have a conflict with a third party or any internal employee. Public relations managers help their clients find solutions that are workable and satisfactory for both parties. They use their understanding of public perception and marketing to help their clients minimise attention from the press and leave each situation positively. This function allows the public relations officer to support their brand management activity.

Attention to detail

Public relations officers use strong attention to detail to manage different clients and their communications with the press. They ensure that every aspect of the information they share with their clients and the press is entirely accurate and presents them in the desired light. Pubic relations officers run metrics to evaluate public perception, tracking how much the public is talking about their clients. They also have to handle administrative duties, like managing contact information and recording their history of communications. Public relations officers also pay attention to their client's competitors to monitor the public perception of the industry.


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