You can explore this field by doing promotional work for a school club or participating in other activities that catch your interest. For example, you can write a press release about an upcoming fund-raising activity sponsored by the student council and send it out to the local media. Have the school photography club take pictures of the event as well. Finally, send a report about the fund-raising project's success, along with photos or video footage, to the local newspaper, town news bulletin, district Web site, or local cable channel.
You can also explore this career by developing your managerial skills in general. Whether you're involved in drama, sports, school publications, or a part-time job, there are managerial duties associated with any organized activity. These can involve planning, scheduling, managing other workers or volunteers, fund-raising, or budgeting.
Public relations managers may supervise a team of public relations specialists or an entire department. Specialists, designers, artists, copywriters, media relations specialists, and administrative assistants are just a few of the workers who report to the public relations manager. Public relations managers work in all types of industries. For example, medical products and services companies rely on public relations managers to lead teams that raise public awareness and interest in a drug that is currently being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. Public relations managers are indispensable to politicians during election times in bringing the candidate's views and message to the voters, while at the same time negatively defining their opponents. Those in the entertainment or sports industries also rely on public relations managers to develop public relations campaigns to raise their Q-rating—a person's measure of visibility and likeability—in hopes of also increasing their market potential.
When creating a publicity program, public relations managers first identify the target audience—the group of people specifically affected by the product, service, idea, or individual being promoted. Once the target audience is ascertained, the manager then assigns tasks—such as writing press releases and arranging personal appearances and interviews—to his or her staff. After the project is assigned, managers monitor their staff and the progress of the campaign to ensure that everything is going as planned. They rely heavily on research to do their jobs. They may tweak or revise a plan according to the results of public surveys, opinion polls, or demographic analyses. They may also alter a plan after consultation with company executives or input from their staff.
Supervision is an important part of the job. Public relations managers review new programs and publicity campaigns, and are responsible for their implementation and success. An unfavorable review or client dissatisfaction will ultimately be the manager's responsibility to rectify. Conducting staff performance reviews, maintaining databases, and determining departments budgets are also part of the manager's job description.
Public relations managers may work with the advertising, marketing, or financial departments of their company to create newsletters, brochures, annual reports, or the content of the company's Web site. Company executives may confer with managers before giving interviews or addressing major stockholders. Public relations managers often act as the corporate spokesperson when giving interviews or responding to requests from the media for information about the company or its products or services.