A slew of PR pros share what they do for a living

‘Public relations’ encompasses a multitude of different skills, disciplines and tactics. Here’s what 50 working in the field say they do to earn a paycheck.

If you ask 10 PR professionals what they do for a living, you’ll probably get 10 different answers.

For example, the 2019 JOTW Communications Survey asked 223 PR and communications pros to clarify what, exactly, they do to earn their paycheck, and the responses varied wildly.

Below are 50 of the most interesting responses to the question: “How would you explain what you do for a living in simple terms?” They range from a single word to 65 words and cover an array of functions:

  • “Make sure that employees, customers and the market understand our company, its services and goals.”
  • “I help our executives and sales leaders convince their audience why they should trust our firm to manage their assets.”
  • “I make complicated things sound simple so people can understand them.”
  • “I advocate on behalf of people with chronic conditions.”
  • “Advocacy and promotion for my company’s products and services.”
  • “I say that it’s my job to discover stories and try to convince journalists to cover them for their outlets.”
  • “I help get my clients in the news and ensure people remember their organizations.”
  • “Consult, coach, teach.”
  • “Helping an organization get favorable press.”
  • “Write and create content for internal and external audiences about my company.”
  • “I get my clients, who are experts in their fields, into newspapers, magazines, online publications and on TV and radio.”
  • “Write for businesses.”
  • “I write and post content for our customers and our employees to teach them about our company, products and vision.”
  • “I help communicate, promote and sell new products or services to potential customers and other stakeholders.”
  • “Help employees understand what is going on in the company, and help executives talk to employees.”
  • “I help companies and organizations talk to their audiences; the people that like them.”
  • “I help companies make more money by getting good publicity.”
  • “I write and distribute press releases and get executives in front of the media.”
  • “I write stories for our magazine and newsletters, manage the print production and put them on our website.”
  • “When you see our organization or issue mentioned in the news, someone I work with has likely helped get the organization or issue there.”
  • “I use print, online and social media to convey to important people—prospective students, donors, legislators, and the news media—the work this university does to educate people and improve their lives.”
  • “I am a storyteller, and I look out for people.”
  • “I develop the strategy that helps the leaders and business grow and get better; I write speeches and stories for the company; I lead a team and we find creative ways to get the attention of our employees so they understand where the company is going and listen to what they need; we try hard to protect the company’s reputation and make it even better.”
  • “I do research to better understand what people know about college sports and then try to help fill the gaps with compelling content and proof points.”
  • “Help businesses or issues stand out for all the right reasons.”
  • “I help my boss communicate his goals and priorities to the entire workforce.”
  • “Engage with our customers and stakeholders on issues that are important to them regarding our services.”
  • “I build my clients’ reputations by telling their stories via the media.”
  • “I help communicate to different audiences what our company does.”
  • “Marketing and branding strategy.”
  • “I communicate with the public to enhance awareness about important issues, news campaigns, research and reports, by writing key messages to communicate information effectively and consistently, both externally to press, partners and influencers, to help spread the message and reach a wide audience, and internally with all colleagues for their communications.”
  • “I help to communicate to the outside world about our organization.”
  • “I write speeches and press releases and talk to the media on behalf of the state’s chief fiscal officer about revenue, unclaimed property, government payroll data and other topics.”
  • “Do you know the ice bucket challenge? A PR team was responsible for that.”
  • “I help employees understand what’s going on in the company and our industry.”
  • “I encourage walking, biking and taking transit to school by making it easy for students and families to choose these modes over driving personal vehicles.”
  • “I take what other people say and do and transform it into messages and stories that people can relate to, draw information or inspiration from, and use in their daily work.”
  • “Publicity.”
  • “I help companies communicate to their audiences. These may include members of their organization or profession, or outside audiences we want to share our work or opinions with.”
  • “I help employees working at large companies understand the business strategy and link their work accordingly. I help the executives become stronger communicators. I also help support employee engagement efforts.”
  • “I help companies get more visibility by assisting them in getting the word out about what they provide and how they help customers.”
  • “I write stories and create graphics that inform people.”
  • “I help organizations and individuals improve their communication skills and activities and measure the results.”
  • “Improve the image of my company.”
  • “I help companies tell their story to the public and succeed as a business through that message.”
  • “Help transit agencies communicate to the public.”
  • “I tell my company’s story.”
  • “My work helps position our city as a great place to live and locate a business.”
  • “I help businesspeople communicate better so they can be more successful in good times and bad times.”
  • “I make sure my colleagues have the right information at the right time to do their jobs better.”

Frank Strong is founder of Sword and the Script Media. A version of this post first appeared on Sword and the Script, where you can see the full survey results.

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One Response to “A slew of PR pros share what they do for a living”

    R. Austin, APR says:

    It’s interesting to note that so few mention building understanding of their audiences within their company or organization, but so many focus on building understanding of their company or organization among its audiences. Public Relations at its best is about building mutual understanding between a company and its publics. It is a strategic approach vs just cranking out messages. As the profession has access to more and more communication channels outside traditional media, I fear we’ve become more and more tactically focused, losing a research-based, strategic approach. Hence, the hand-wringing that still goes on about how we measure our efforts and how so many still cannot make connections to an organizations broader goals.

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