Director of Communications Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Director of Communications, or Communications Director, controls and oversees the flow of communication and information between the company and the public. Their main duties include managing the communications departments within a company, acting as the face of the organization at media events and directing marketing and public relations campaigns.

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Director of Communications Duties and Responsibilities

A Director of Communications is responsible for developing effective messaging and communication strategies. They must create or oversee the creation of promotional and informative materials the company will send to the public. They might also be involved with internal company communications. They’ll work with all forms of media, including press releases and digital campaigns, print materials, social media, audio and video and more. Other job duties include:

  • Responding to crises or challenging situations quickly and professionally
  • Attending speaking engagements and hosting special events
  • Making sure all company materials have consistent and positive messaging and branding
  • Conducting quality control on all communications
  • Managing a team of communications staff
  • Developing relationships and working with media outlets and other companies

What Does a Director of Communications Do?

Directors of Communications work in a leadership role on the communications side of the company, which typically consist of the marketing, sales and public relations departments. They work to ensure the organization maintains a positive image by overseeing and approving any company information or announcements before they’re released to the public. Communications Directors view any promotional or marketing materials to ensure they represent a positive company image before being published.

Director of Communications Skills and Qualifications

A successful Director of Communications will have a strong set of written and verbal skills as well as problem-solving capabilities. These professionals should be comfortable working on and delivering messages through a variety of platforms. They should also have the confidence and managerial skills to guide a team of communications staff. Other important skills include:

  • Teamwork and the ability to lead and motivate their staff to produce high-level, brand-driven content
  • Written, verbal and digital communication skills
  • Analytical skills to solve problems and find the best way to convey a message
  • The creativity to produce exciting and interesting content
  • Organizational skills and the ability to multitask and prioritize projects while working on a deadline or in a fast-paced environment
  • The technological ability to work on a variety of digital platforms and also create web and mobile content

Director of Communications Salary Expectations

A director of communications’ average salary is $71,761 per year, but may range depending on experience, location and the type of company. The part-time Director of Communications for a small nonprofit, for instance, will be on the lower end of this range, while that of a large global organization will be on the high end.

Director of Communications Education and Training Requirements

A Director of Communications should have at least a bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, public relations, journalism, English or a related field. Some will have a master’s degree in communications programs; these individuals will be more highly qualified for the job and might have more extensive leadership and business skills. 

A successful Director of Communications might take professional development courses and seminars to learn current industry trends and new technologies. They might also be certified or trained on information exchange programs or creative and publishing software.

Director of Communications Experience Requirements

A Director of Communications should have at least five, and probably close to 10, years of professional experience in a communications, public relations or marketing role. Ideally, this person will also have several years of managerial or leadership experience. They should be able to demonstrate their ability to lead a team effectively and show examples of high-level written work.

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Frequently asked questions about Directors of Communications

 

What's the difference between a Director of Communications and a Director of Marketing?

While they both handle similar responsibilities of releasing campaigns and communication efforts to the public, they hold some key differences in their job duties. A Marketing Director oversees the entire process of creating and implementing a marketing campaign, while the Director of Communications is primarily responsible for ensuring the materials portray a positive representation of the company before they’re released to the public. 

When the Director of Marketing finishes their campaign, they’ll show it to the Director of Communications before it’s published to ensure it follows the Communications Director’s proposed communications strategy and portrays the company in a positive light. 

 

What makes a good Director of Communications?

A strong Director of Communications should have extensive knowledge of and expertise in marketing and public relations campaigns, so experience working in either of these departments is often preferred. They must also be effective leaders, as they’re often overseeing multiple departments and offering guidance on how to improve various campaigns. 

Since they’re regularly reacting to and resolving any public image crises or setbacks that the organization may experience, a great Director of Communications should have impressive critical thinking and problem solving skills and must operate well in a high-stress, fast-paced environment.  

 

Who reports to the Director of Communications?

Any departments that involve regularly communicating with the public often report to the Director of Communications to receive approval of any company information to be released. This can include the sales, marketing and public relations departments. The Director of Communications typically builds a communication strategy and guidelines policy for all the employees to follow. 

They may regularly meet with employees to communicate any updates to their policy and address any questions employees may have about it. Before the employees publish their communications or campaigns to the public, the Communications Director carefully reviews them and suggests any changes to add that helps them more positively represent the company. 

 

Do Directors of Communications have different responsibilities in different industries?

Directors of Communications can work in a wide array of industries, performing similar duties of acting as the face of the organization and overseeing the messaging in communications materials. They may work in an office maintaining the communication efforts of one company or they can work for public relations or marketing agencies handling the communications and promotional materials for several different companies at once. 

Some Communications Directors may work for nonprofit or fundraising organizations planning and hosting fundraising events, panel discussions and press conferences. Others may serve in politics, representing political figures and working to maintain their positive image and communications with the public.

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