Public Relations is an exciting career and one of the few professions that require a person to have different skills. If you are considering it as a career, here are 10 things you should know:
What a PR professional does: He/she is responsible for managing a client’s reputation and handling any crisis by communicating information about the company to the public, the media, and other stakeholders in an appealing and persuasive manner. PR professionals spend time researching and analysing trends in their industry, as well as that of competitors and other stakeholders in their client’s industries.
Scope in India: India is currently the third-largest industry in the world and has been growing by 12% each year since 2010. This can be attributed to an increased focus on public relations thanks to developments such as an economic boom, the rising middle class, and the growth of social media.
Different from Advertising: While PR and Advertising are designed to promote brands and products, the former focuses on building long-term trust and relationships, generating news stories and is less expensive and sustainable. Advertising focuses on immediate sales and uses persuasive messages and visuals.
For everyone: If you are interested in the field, it doesn't matter what degree you have. What matters is your inclination and your communications skills. You can do a Master’s in Public Relations.
Job titles: PR Intern is the beginner level where one can learn and study on the job. A PR Associate manages campaigns for clients and has to research and build relations with stakeholders and also understand the media. An Account Manager manages all PR accounts and oversees campaigns. The Director of Communications reports to the CEO and handles the company’s communications department, which includes PR and marketing.
Across sectors: A PR professional gets to work in various industries and then eventually choose the sector he/she is passionate about or know well.
Challenges: Public Relations is a very competitive industry. So, one has to upskill constantly. It is also demanding and a work-life balance can be difficult to achieve. It requires a lot of networking and relationship building.
Skills required: It requires one to be innovative, strategic, and solution-oriented. An aspirant needs excellent written and verbal communication skills, comprehensive research skills, global perspective, creative and strategic thinking and social media skills.
Roles and responsibilities: PR professionals publicise a client’s business and promote the desired image. They create content and plan events to reach the target audience. They also manage relationships with the media and analyse and track data to measure progress and outcomes. They work with other departments to create a comprehensive strategy for brand promotion.
Courses: Short-term courses are available on online platforms and some communities like the PR Club of India also help professionals upskill and stay updated. One-year diploma programmes are structured according to current trends and requirements and are offered by the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) and Xavier Institute of Communication (XIC) among others. Institutes such as Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA), Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (SIMC) and the University of Mumbai offer a two-year PG degree, with Mass Communication in the first year and specialisation in PR in the second year.
The writer is the Dean, School of Communication and Reputation (SCoRe).