Public Relations Specialist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Public Relations Specialist, or Media Relations Specialist, creates and maintains a positive public voice, identity and image for an organization or individual. Their duties include writing and publishing press releases, providing responses to the media’s information requests and monitoring public opinions of companies using social media, surveys or polls.

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Public Relations Specialist Duties and Responsibilities

While a Public Relation Specialist’s high-level role is to manage a company’s image, this job can be broken down into several smaller duties. For example, these professionals draft press releases and help a company determine the tone it needs to use across social media. A Public Relations Specialist is also responsible for such items as:

  • Helping ensure brand consistency across marking materials
  • Helping clients and customers understand what a company offers
  • Planning and directing PR programs
  • Helping marketing teams tell effective brand stories
  • Responding to information requests from clients and members of the media
  • Writing or editing speeches

What Does a Public Relations Specialist Do?

Public Relations Specialists are employed by companies to manage their public image and ensure they gain and maintain a positive reputation with the public. They’ll build press kits to distribute to media outlets, which may include company images, case studies, feature stories, press releases or pitch letters. Some Public Relations Specialists also work for individuals, like celebrities or public figures, to ensure they maintain a positive image with their fan base. 

Since they regularly submit stories and press releases about their clients, Public Relations Specialists must maintain strong relationships with the media. They’ll also find ways to get their clients in front of the public by arranging press conferences, event appearances and interviews.

Public Relations Specialist Skills and Qualifications

A good Public Relations Specialist candidate will have several prerequisite skills and qualifications. Communication skills are arguably the most important qualification for these positions—they must not only communicate with external parties, but they must also help business owners and workers understand how to talk about or create content for the enterprise. Other important skills and qualifications for Public Relations Specialists include:

  • Organizational skills
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • The ability to always represent a company professionally
  • Exceptional writing and editing skills
  • Familiarity with the latest PR trends and best practices

Public Relations Specialist Salary Expectations

While the salary data for a Public Relations Specialist is not available, the amount they can earn often depends on factors such as industry the job listing is in, experience level of the candidate and geographical location.

Public Relations Specialist Education and Training Requirements

Most companies expect a Public Relations Specialist to have a bachelor’s degree in public relations or a related field, such as communications or marketing. Some companies may require a master’s degree, which is typically the expected education level for PR Managers or Team Leaders. Some companies offer internships that could eventually lead to the Public Relations Specialist position.

Public Relations Specialist Experience Requirements

Companies may offer entry-level Public Relations jobs that don’t require any special training or experience, and workers may advance within the company. Mid-level applicants should have at least three years of experience. Candidates with experience in other communications jobs may also have the skills needed for PR roles.

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

Public Relations Specialists have many skills that overlap with other Public Relations jobs. If this job description sample is not quite what you’re looking for, here is a similar one: 

Frequently asked questions about Public Relations Specialists

 

Who does a Public Relations Specialist report to?

Public Relations Specialists who work in an agency with a team of other employees who may all report to Public Relations Managers. These supervisors will oversee the Public Relations Specialists’ work and will ensure they’re maintaining a positive relationship with both the clients and media. 

Public Relations Managers may occasionally reach out to the Public Relations Specialist’s clients to ensure they’re meeting their needs and are offering an impressive service. Public Relations Specialists may also turn to Public Relations Managers for guidance and advice on how to improve their performance or to resolve any complex work challenges.

 

What settings do Public Relations Specialists typically work in?

Public Relations Specialists may serve in a variety of locations. They’ll spend a majority of their time in their office, reaching out to clients and managing their accounts over the phone or email. They may also meet with clients in person by traveling to coffee shops, restaurants or their offices to discuss certain strategies and campaigns in person. 

Public Relations Specialists are also in charge of maintaining a strong relationship with the media, so they may visit these locations to set up interviews or provide requested information. They’ll also spend time traveling to press conferences and other events their clients are attending to ensure they run smoothly. 

 

What's the difference between a Public Relations Specialist and a Marketing Specialist?

Though they both implement campaigns that portray their clients in a positive light, Public Relations Specialists and Marketing Specialists have significantly different roles. Public Relations Specialists focus on maintaining a positive image for the entire company altogether. 

Marketing Specialists work primarily on promoting and advertising the company’s product or services. They’ll publish marketing campaigns and will manage paid advertising costs. Public Relations Specialists typically aren’t involved with the marketing campaign creation process, but some may ask to review these campaigns before they’re published to ensure they represent the company in a positive way. 

 

What makes a good Public Relations Specialist?

Great Public Relations Specialists have excellent written communication skills to draft press releases and media information. Their verbal communication and interpersonal abilities must also be impressive, as they regularly collaborate and build relationships with the media, their clients and other employees. 

Public Relations Specialists must be outstanding listeners to understand the needs and preferences of their clients and build PR campaigns that represent these goals. Effective problem solving and critical thinking abilities are also needed to quickly and logically respond to negative events and spin them into a positive image for the client. 

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