Exploring this Job
Ask your teacher or counselor to set up an information interview with a publicist. Volunteer to handle various public relations-type duties for your high school sports teams or clubs. Run for student council or another leadership position at school to gain experience with public speaking and management.
Publicists are responsible for obtaining positive attention and name recognition for their clients. They achieve this by developing a publicity plan that may incorporate a variety of methods—press kits, social media posts, news releases, photographs, personal appearances, and promotions. Using their many contacts and media savvy, publicists can turn a new restaurant or club into the latest hotspot, or reverse the fading career of a former A-list actor. Publicists may also be called to perform damage control—sometimes spinning a negative incident into a positive one, or at the very least, making a story less harmful to the client's reputation. A publicist's talents can be applied to many industries. The following paragraphs detail the many career options available to publicists.
In the entertainment industry, where being at the right parties and nightclubs can further an actor's public image and career, having a good publicist is an asset. Publicists promote actors and actresses by getting them invited to parties and premiers and involved in charity events and social causes that will make the individual more visible and attractive to the press and the public. They may schedule radio and television interviews, press junkets, personal appearances, television and radio interviews, and photo sessions to help promote an upcoming project. They often work closely with managers, agents, image consultants, and stylists to help the actor or actress portray a certain image that is favorable to the public. At times, a publicist may be called on to "spin" or interpret a negative incident into one less career damaging.
Publicists who work in the sports industry are responsible for the promotion of a team or athlete. They write press releases, hold press conferences, and arrange media interviews and tours. They often work with the public relations, advertising, and marketing departments of professional sports teams to create press releases, game programs, brochures, recruiting kits, media kits, and fan newsletters.
Publicists may also work to generate fan interest in a sports team or athlete by scheduling special events before, during, and after competitions; creating ticket or product promotions; and organizing music or fireworks displays.
Publicists help promote an author's latest work by sending it to reporters, writers, and book reviewers employed at newspapers, trade papers, magazines, and Web sites. They may schedule and advertise a multi-city book tour, including signings and reading at bookstores, schools, and libraries. Publicists may book an author, especially if he or she is well known, for interviews and personal appearances on television and radio shows, as well as on the Internet. They may also promote the author's work for special awards and industry recognition.
The hospitality industry relies on publicists to promote its properties. Publicists employed in this industry often send press releases and media kits to travel magazines, travel agents, convention planners, and frequent guests of the hotel to create interest in the properties. Publicists may fine-tune or tailor media kits and other promotional material to attract a particular audience. For example, material sent to travel magazine editors would spotlight the hotel's unique spa services or nearby attractions; convention planners and travel agents would be sent highlights of the hotel's meeting facilities and guest rooms. Hospitality publicists also promote entertainment options found at hotels. A publicist employed by a Las Vegas hotel, for example, would tout its high-roller casinos, lounge acts and shows, or world-class dining. They might also showcase special events held at the hotel such as a New Year's Eve extravaganza or a poker tournament.
Besides delicious food and impeccable service, restaurants rely on good publicity to attract clientele. Publicists working in the restaurant industry need to promote their clients in a way that makes them stand out from the crowd. They work with restaurant owners to identify an appropriate image for the restaurant and the type of customers it wishes to attract—whether tourists, business people, young and hip urban professionals, families with children, or another demographic group. Publicists plan special events such as wine tastings, holiday theme parties, and fashion shows as a way to attract new diners to their establishment. These events may be listed in a calendar or flyer mailed or e-mailed to local media or frequent patrons, or they may be posted on popular social media sites. Publicists may invite the media to special events in hopes of garnering publicity in the form of a positive restaurant review or a mention in an upcoming column. Publicists may invite local television or radio personalities to do a live broadcast from the restaurant or bar to get additional publicity.