What Do Public Relations Specialists Do?

Lecture Notes

By Dr. Sarah Chidiebere Joe

A public relations expert is a person who creates and sustains a positive public image for their clients. A client can be an individual, a group, or an organisation. A PR expert’s tasks entail designing media releases of various types, developing social media programs, and event planning, promotion, and publicity. They do these for two main reasons. The first is to shape the public perception of their client. The second is to facilitate awareness of each client’s work and goals. To effectively carry out these responsibilities, a PR person needs to possess certain qualities.

  1. Have good writing and interpersonal communication skills
  2. Have a good understanding of research
  3. Know how to negotiate
  4. Be creative
  5. Be great at problem-solving
  6. Be great at handling logistics

These traits are critical given the nature of the work of PR. This is also why PR is taught at many institutions around the world including the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt. Let’s look at a classic example by detailing an average day in the life of a PR expert.

Rhizome is a Senior Account Executive in one of Port Harcourt’s biggest PR firms, ELANHUB MEDIA.

TimeTasks
9:00amShe scans local and national dailies as well as blogs and other social media platforms to see whether any of her clients are mentioned or whether there are any critical issues of interest to them. She finds something about the high infection rates among in-patients. She notes that her intern needs to do more research on the subject. She also sees this an opportunity for one of her clients who owns a hospital to capitalize on the media attention on the subject to issue a statement describing what measures they are taking to ensure their patients are provided quality and safe care. 
10:00amScripts a draft of a news release for a client who has just launched a new product. She emails it to the said client and sets in motion a plan to distribute the release to the media when it is finally approved by the client.
11:00amBrainstorming session for a fundraising event for a client with interest in awareness creation for breast cancer.
12:05pmResponds to six telephone messages
12:50pmGrants an interview with a reporter who needs background information on a story she is developing.
01:30pmExamines a draft of a brochure by the firm’s graphic designer and makes few changes.
02:00pmSits down to have a conversation with a catering company ahead of an event at an art gallery the following week
03:00pmLunch with a client who wants her thought on her to position their firm as clean energy driven
04:00pmRhizome is back to the office and checks in with a Team working on a 10-city tour with a client representing a big cosmetic brand.
04:30pmPitches a story with a top editor about a client who is launching a new product.
05:00pmChecks online news updates
06:00pmAttends a meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR)
08:00pmDinner with a client who needs an urgent advice on how to handle a crisis situation.

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