Roles and duties of a public relations officer: complete job description

Roles and duties of a public relations officer: complete job description

The duties of a public relations officer play a vital role in the company's success. A PR specialist is responsible for building and maintaining the company or client's reputation and image. Companies can choose between outsourcing and employing public relations officers, depending on their needs. Therefore, you can be part of a company's staff or an independent PR consultant.

public relations officer duties in a school
A man using the office desktop. Photo: pexels.com, @Jopwell
Source: UGC

Employers usually highlight the duties and qualities of a public relations officer they are looking for in their vacancy adverts. Most companies require people with a bachelor's degree in PR or related educational qualifications. You also have an added advantage if you study social sciences, business, or journalism.

Who is a public relations officer?

The public relations officer (PRO), chief communications officer (CCO), or corporate communications officer oversees a team that builds the right public image for the company.

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The PR officer, therefore, maintains communication between the company and the public, clients, investors, customers, etc. In other words, they handle the company's media coverage, promotions, and public events.

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Public relations covers marketing, business relationships, communication, excellent writing skills, creativity and more. PR courses at tertiary educational institutions, training programs, internships, and other events will help you develop your skills.

What are the duties of a public relations officer?

A public relations officer is among the highest-paid employees in any company. Companies usually hire PR officers to create a positive image for their business and products/services to the target audience when planning to expand, increase sales, and grow income.

You can be a PR specialist for the government, the private sector, or non-profit firms. The organization usually determine the P.R.0 duties and responsibilities, depending on their goals. These are the general roles of a public relations officer:

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Duties of a public relations officer in an organization

Every public relations officer is the ‘media face’ of the company it represents. This position covers all duties related to publicity. Sometimes, this person has to work as a crisis manager. Here are the roles of a PR officer in a company:

  • Writing creative press releases about upcoming events.
  • Making media presentations.
  • Creating and carrying out promotional campaigns.
  • Attending press conferences.
  • Getting in touch with the media and responding to all the inquiries.
  • Making strategic plans for promoting the brand's image.
  • Organizing the company's 'open days' for visitors, customers, and investors.
  • Attending business exhibitions.
  • Monitoring and analyzing TV reports, publications in newspapers and magazines
  • Handling all promotions and public events.
  • Working on the company's social media profiles.
duties and qualities of a public relations officer
A business meeting. Photo: pexels.com, @Edmond Dantès
Source: UGC

Duties of a public relations officer in an association

The public relations officer is responsible for press releases of a product development and launch, new market research discoveries, and any other major event worth attracting attention from local media.

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They safeguard private information local newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, and others would like to get and control the information they can access.

In addition, this person has to host press conferences and honour the corporation, university or any other type of organization through mass media.

  • Planning publicity strategies and campaigns
  • Writing and producing presentations and press releases
  • Organizing and attending promotional events such as press conferences, open days, exhibitions, tours and visits.
  • Dealing with enquiries from the public, the press, and related organizations.
  • Speaking publicly at interviews, press conferences, and presentations
  • Analyzing media coverage.
  • Providing clients with information about new promotional opportunities and current PR campaign progress.
  • Commissioning or undertaking relevant market research.
  • Liaising with clients, managerial and journalistic staff about budgets, timescales and objectives.

Public relations officer duties in a school

The PR manager handles all unexpected situations that require mass media attention. It could be necessary to answer questions, organize interviews with journalists, and ensure they release positive news about the school. Here are the duties of a PR officer in a learning institution:

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  • Develop PR campaigns and media relations strategies.
  • Collaborate with internal teams (e.g. marketing) and maintain open communication with senior management.
  • Edit and update promotional material and publications (brochures, videos, social media posts etc.)
  • Prepare and distribute press releases
  • Organize PR events (e.g. open days, press conferences) and serve as the company’s spokesperson
  • Seek opportunities for partnerships, sponsorships and advertising.
  • Address inquiries from the media and other parties
  • Track media coverage and follow industry trends
public relations officer duties and responsibilities
A man using a phone. Photo: pexels.com, @Jopwell
Source: UGC

Public relations officer duties and responsibilities in a hospital

A PR officer is responsible for the hospital's communications department. In this situation, the list of duties becomes even longer, as listed below:

  • Work as part of an account team (in smaller organizations) when planning and implementing PR strategies and budgeting for all the media coverage, events and anything related to generating public interest in the company, services or products.
  • Monitor the media, including newspapers, magazines, journals, broadcasts, newswires, social media sites and blogs, for opportunities for clients.
  • Research, write and distribute press releases to targeted media.
  • Prepare and supervise the production of publicity brochures, handouts, direct mail leaflets, promotional videos, photographs, films and multimedia programmes.
  • Devise photo opportunities and coordinate studio or location photography.
  • Organize events (such as press conferences, exhibitions, open days and press tours), source speakers and seek sponsorship opportunities.
  • Manage and update information and engage with users on social media sites.
  • Commission market research.
  • Undertake research for new business proposals and present them to potential new clients.
  • Manage the PR aspect of a potential crisis.

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Public relations officer duties and responsibilities in a student council

A student council can appoint or elect you as their PR officer. If you would love to be in this position, prepare to accomplish the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Build strong relationships and networks with students, the school administration, and other student organizations.
  • Foster good community relations through events like open days and community initiatives.
  • Write and edit in-house magazines, case studies, speeches, articles and annual reports.
  • Maintain and update information on the organization's website.
  • Collate and analyze media coverage.
  • Prepare regular student council reports and attend meetings.
duties of a public relations officer in an association
Colleagues using a laptop. Photo: pexels.com, @RODNAE Productions
Source: UGC

Qualities of public relations officer

Learn how to be a good public relations officer through experience. Since this cannot be an overnight achievement, you must be patient with yourself. Here are the qualities of a public relations officer:

  • BSc/BA in Public Relations, Journalism, Communications or a related field.

The employer needs you to prove you are academically qualified to handle the job.

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  • You should have strong communication ability (oral and written).

Be clear and create great messages that will attract the mass media. Build simple, intelligent and direct texts both in mind and on paper. Clarity is a wonderful feature that PR professionals must possess.

A PR professional must be aware of all the news and changes in the relevant industries and double-check all the information. Both awareness and diligence are the two great features that make a good public relations officer.

  • You have to be proficient in social media.

Your work entails maintaining the company's image and promoting its services and products on social media. Therefore, you must know how to attract and engage an online audience in your promotion campaigns.

  • You should be familiar with project management and video/photo editing software.

You are required to edit and update promotional material and publications like brochures, videos, social media posts etc. Therefore, learn how to use MS Office, project management and video/photo editing software.

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  • You should have an excellent background in researching, writing and editing publications.

You will write and edit in-house magazines, speeches, case studies, articles, manual reports, etc. Hence, learn how to research, write and edit these publications.

  • Excellent organizational skills.

You must maintain an organized physical workspace and documents to improve your mindset and productivity. In addition, excellent organizational skills eliminate stress and time wastage at work.

duties of a public relations officer in an organization
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Source: UGC
  • You should have the ability to work well under pressure.

You might travel a lot (locally or internationally) to meet clients and attend networking, media events, and exhibitions. In addition, tight deadlines are to be met, and you might be required to work on various projects simultaneously.

  • You should be honest.

During your marketing campaigns, it is important to never lie about the company, its products and services. Instead, you have to highlight their positives and be careful when dealing with clients' concerns about their negatives because clients and customers value the truth.

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  • You have creativity and problem-solving aptitude.

Develop new ideas and innovative approaches when solving problems. Clients pay more attention when you introduce them to new ways of solving issues they experience with your products r services.

What is a public relations officer's salary?

A public relations officer job is generally office-based, but you may have to travel frequently. A PR expert's starting salary is ₦31,851 to ₦89,239 net per month. After 5 years of service, one can earn ₦35,016 to ₦97,605 per month if they work 40 hours a week.

Is PR a good career?

The US News and World Report ranked public relations professionals as the third best creative and media job of 2020.

Is PR and HR the same?

HR professionals manage employees to ensure they meet the organization's goals, while PR experts build, market, and advertise the brand to external stakeholders. Public relations officers also improve the company's public image and increase its market value.

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Is PR a desk job?

Every day brings new opportunities. Hence, a PR specialist often meets clients, customers, and other external stakeholders outside the office.

The roles and duties of a public relations officer require an understanding and genuine person who is always willing to promote and present the company to the public. The most vital skills for this job are the ability to focus on details, follow all trending news, stay curious, ask questions when interacting with customers, write clearly and be strategic.

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