The Roles in Public Relations

So, you’re looking for a career in public relations and need to know the various roles, yes? Well, every PR agency or in-house PR department is likely to have a slightly different interpretation of particular roles within their company, depending on its size and structure.

Therefore, this article, whilst indicative of the sector, outlines the structure we work to at this particular agency, Glasgow-based Profile Plus.

What is most important, however, when you are considering joining an organisation is to find out if there is a clear path of career development and if the company offers in-house and/or external training, enabling people starting in PR to develop their skills, alongside on-the-job experience.

At Profile Plus, we have a number of different roles, all important to the smooth running of the client accounts and development of the overall business. These are covered from entry level, as a PR assistant, to managing director.

A PR assistant is likely to have completed a degree or PR/marketing qualification but not worked in PR before, so they are at the important stage of learning good practice from more senior colleagues. At Profile Plus, our PR assistant is likely to focus his/her time on:

* Scanning client coverage in newspapers and magazines;
* Reading relevant media, looking for new trends, what competitor brands and companies are doing, understanding key media;
* Evaluating the cuttings and helping prepare the evaluation reports;
* Proofing news releases;
* Helping prepare press packs and mailings to journalists;
* Compiling news distribution lists specific to each client and adding personal contacts to these lists;
* Brainstorming: just because they haven’t been in the business long doesn’t mean they can’t make a very worthwhile contribution to brainstorming sessions – whether it’s to develop new ideas for existing clients, or to develop ideas for a potential client;
* Research for new business pitches is time-consuming, but essential, and the PR assistant can learn a lot from doing this, and seeing how a creative campaign starts from the nub of an idea generated by the agency.

The next step up the ladder is the account executive, although many larger agencies may have an interim stage of senior assistant, and, likewise, after account executive there may well be senior account executive.

The account executive should be becoming more independent, helping to plan campaigns and target media.