Working in the strategic communications subfield can be a highly rewarding experience for those professionals interested in optimizing information delivering activities. Whether you're an aspiring analyst, content manager, quality assurance specialist or public relations manager, there's likely a role that will fit your needs within this sect of the overarching communications industry. If you're considering a career in strategic communications, it may be helpful to review possible job options and what such roles entail. In this article, we define strategic communications, outline 12 unique roles in the field, including salary information, and provide helpful tips for finding a job successfully.
What is strategic communications?
Strategic communications is a subfield of the overarching communications sector. The field of communications generally encompasses all activities associated with creating messaging and delivering information. Comparatively, the subfield strategic communications focuses more narrowly upon activities associated with delivering information. With this, professionals within strategic communications typically work toward the goal of identifying the best method of delivering a message, what channels are most effective and how such communications efforts can meet organization-specific goals most efficiently. Therefore, the subfield of strategic communications places an emphasis on using purposeful planning and coordination to achieve its objectives.
Professionals within this subfield use strategy to their advantage in reaching the public. They may perform a variety of roles associated with forming and employing strategy. For instance, strategic communications professionals may analyze outreach efficacy, design novel methods of outreach to supplement the existing tactics employed by an organization, coordinate a higher rate of consistency among an organization's outreach or simply facilitate the outreach by pushing messaging and content through certain channels. Regardless of their specific utility, professionals in this subfield all play roles in the gamification of communications as they attempt to foster systems, tools and best practices.
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12 jobs in strategic communications
There are various types of roles you can pursue in the strategic communications sector, depending on your particular area of professional interest. For example, these roles include those that focus on creating content strategically, delivering information effectively or analyzing the systems used to deliver content. With this variation in mind, here are 12 jobs to consider in the subfield of strategic communications for your next career move:
National average salary: $34,997 per year
Primary duties: Journalists perform high-level research and investigation, write news pieces and deliver information using an effective, straightforward and balanced approach. They're typically concerned with gathering accurate information, verifying sources and publishing newsworthy stories to inform the general public about various topics.
Read more: Learn About Being a Journalist
National average salary: $45,512 per year
Primary duties: Social media managers deliver messaging and content via various platforms and channels in which users can interact and engage with brands. Depending on their specific role, they may handle content creation, quality assurance and publishing activities. Social media managers may specialize in working with a certain channel, especially if they're successful in doing so.
Read more: Learn About Being a Social Media Manager
National average salary: $46,688 per year
Primary duties: Communications officers typically write, distribute and promote content regarding a specific brand, its activities, products or services. These professionals may write press releases, coordinate digital content creation, formulate social media and blog posts, track campaign metrics and maintain archives of information.
National average salary: $49,921 per year
Primary duties: Communications consultants advise organizations on best practices for creating content, delivering it and maintaining a public image. They may work as internal or external professionals, depending on their exact focus, and strategize the various aspects involved in a marketing campaign.
National average salary: $57,048 per year
Primary duties: Copywriters are strategic communications professionals who focus on content creation using targeted information and tactics formulated by an organization or brand. They write error-free, intelligible and actionable copy that may appear in advertisements, publications, social media, marketing campaigns or other communications materials.
Read more: Learn About Being a Copywriter
National average salary: $60,512 per year
Primary duties: Directors of public relations are professionals who provide leadership in the creation and distribution of communications materials that form an organization's public image. They typically manage these efforts in order to curate a positive image and may supervise various other professionals in accomplishing this goal.
National average salary: $60,854 per year
Primary duties: Digital strategists focus on managing the creation of digital content, releasing it and promoting organizational brands on digital media platforms, such as social media channels and websites. They often serve as project managers and focus on the multifaceted goal of enhancing brand awareness, engagement and loyalty as part of their various duties.
National average salary: $64,754 per year
Primary duties: Research analysts examine, evaluate and validate information or data to ensure its accuracy, meaning and quality. They may perform this duty for various means within strategic communications, including identifying opportunities to enhance an organization's communications and evaluating the information distributed within communications efforts.
Read more: Learn About Being an Analyst
National average salary: $68,186 per year
Primary duties: Political analysts perform research into various communications subjects like foreign relations, ideology, policy, public opinion and overall trends within the political sector. From here, they typically consult with government officials, media agencies, political candidates and others to provide insight gathered through their research that can enhance communications and messaging.
10. SEO manager
National average salary: $79,102 per year
Primary duties: SEO managers, or search engine optimization managers, focus on developing strategies to maximize an organization's ability to achieve priority search engine ranks. They may perform duties related to optimizing content planning, analyzing web analytics, integrating keywords, building link infrastructure and designing marketing tactics.
National average salary: $84,931 per year
Primary duties: Marketing directors are leaders who manage and oversee specific brands, accounts or departments that participate in the overall processes of branding and organizational identity development. These directors may manage budgets, oversee strategies and analyze markets to optimize their activities and reach specific audiences.
Read more: Learn About Being a Marketing Director
National average salary: $92,715 per year
Primary duties: Creative directors oversee content creation teams that focus on advertising and marketing efforts. They may plan advertising campaigns, establish objectives, monitor campaigns, measure their efficacy, revise plans to maximize their success and shape a brand's identity to ensure engagement.
Read more: Learn About Being a Creative Director
Tips for getting a job in strategic communications
Securing a job in strategic communications can be a challenging endeavor, as the market for such professionals can be highly competitive, even while job prospects continue to grow. Here are a few helpful tips to consider as you pursue your job search in strategic communications:
Employers in the strategic communications subfield typically require candidates to have a certain level of experience to be eligible for open positions. While this can seem counterintuitive, especially for recent communications graduates or professionals new to the field, there are various opportunities you can take advantage of early on in your career to gain this experience. Pursue internships, fellowships, freelance opportunities and contract positions that allow you to practice your skills and develop professionally.
Network with other professionals
While networking can be beneficial in any field, it's a significant part of strategic communications. In order to find a job more successfully, try to form connections with professionals working in strategic communications who may be able to offer advice, suggest opportunities or refer you for an open position. Even if your connections can't help you secure a role, they may be able to offer professional insight that influences your ability to do so on your own. These relationships can be highly valuable, informative and boost your chances of succeeding in the field.
Find a niche
There are various specialty roles within strategic communications and finding a niche that interests you may serve you well in the long term, as it can create professional value. This is especially true if you can become well known for your unique capabilities and prove that you're the best person to perform a highly specialized role—strategic communications professionals are always looking for the most effective method of completing processes. For example, you may choose to work specifically with niches like sustainable communication, SEO, a certain digital platform or other specialty areas depending on your interests.