How to make the cut in PR

How to make the cut in PR

JOB OPTIONS

Your outgoing personality and leadership skills can give you a great headstart in a career in public relations, says  Rahul Bajpai

Public relations (PR) is a field concerned with maintaining the public image of businesses, non-profit organisations and high-profile individuals such as health professionals, celebrities and politicians, etc.

A public relations officer, (PRO), also known as a media specialist, is the spokesperson of a company or organisation. His/her role is to convey the policies and interests of an organisation to the public using the various media channels. The need for a PRO can be found in almost all sectors, including advertising, healthcare, government, electorate, etc.

It is a sophisticated branch of marketing and branding. If you are passionate about providing the best possible methods that match the highest standards for your client and are excited by the idea of collaborating with like-minded peers and leaders, then you have a shot at a successful career map in public relations.

The main job is to improve and maintain the reputation of a company or organisation. It is the responsibility of a PR officer to promote the products and services of the establishment he/she works for. The job is typically carried out through press conferences, exhibitions, publishing articles in a newspaper or by promoting the company through its official website. When a company has to launch a new product, it is the job of the PR official to make arrangements to promote it. He/she has to design promotional strategies, keeping the target audience in mind. A day of a PRO starts with:

*Reading newspapers and tracking client and media coverage

*Meeting with team mates for monthly plan and target completion

*Creating branding strategies and story ideas for the client

*Content writing — press releases, articles, press statements and sending them out for  approval from the client

*Client meetings

*Media follow-ups

Remuneration

Salaries will vary widely between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 as a starting point and can go up to any value over the years.

Skills required

A PR officer should be an outgoing person as the job involves interacting with lots of people, especially potential clients and media persons.

It is necessary for a PR officer to have strong writing and communication skills. He/she must have a good command over the English language, as much of the work involves putting together publicity brochures, press releases, handouts, company magazines and newsletters for employees, etc. He/she is also expected to keep the official website of the organisation up-to-date.

Eligibility

To become a PR Professional, one has to go through at least five years of rigorous training. A candidate must:

*Complete graduation (basic writing skills are a must)

*Complete postgraduation or diploma in PR which includes a thesis submission

*Practise during internship in any good PR firm

A person with a graduate degree in Communications, Journalism, Advertising is qualified to become a public relations officer. More than the qualification, it is the skill that matters to be successful in this career. A PR officer is a person whose  responsibility it is to uphold the prestige of the company or organisation he/she works for.

Institutes and colleges which offer a specialisation in PR include:

*Apeejay Institute of Mass communication, New Delhi

*Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi

*Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism, Bhopal 

*JNU University

*Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai

*Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication, (SIMC), Pune

(The contributor is founder and media director at Creator Public Relations, New Delhi.)

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