What do you want to become?
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Alternate Career Titles:
PR Director, Director of Press Relations, Publicity Director
Career Overview: Coordinates press and promotions of orchestra, may handle advertising.
Career Salary Range: $30,000 to $75,000+
Become a Director of Public Relations
The Director of Public Relations is usually in charge of dealing with the press, while handling the promotion of that orchestra and its many activities. The Director of Public Relations is responsible for making sure the surrounding community and members of the press are aware of any upcoming concerts that are being performed by the orchestra.
Special activities like educational activities and holiday shows are also planned by orchestras, and again, it is the PR Director’s job to inform the community of the events. The Director of Public Relations does this by distributing press releases and engaging in advertising. To find success with press releases, the PR Director must have a full and complete contact list.
To accomplish most tasks, the Director of Public Relations works with the development department. For example, when the Director of Development is trying to raise money through an annual fund-raising drive, the PR Director will usually create a story and then distribute it to their list of contacts. Press parties and conferences, cocktail parties, and other functions are all under the umbrella of responsibilities for the PR Director. Also, publications that are prepared for use in promotion, education and fundraising are supervised by the PR Director from start to finish.
The Director of Public Relations might also work with other organizations for promotional tie-in possibilities, as is the case when the orchestra works with a shopping mall in a certain orchestra promotion. In addition, if the orchestra hires a new Conductor, the PR Director would be the one who would publicize the event, and might even set up interviews between the Music Director and the media.
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Salaries vary for the Director of Public Relations, increasing or decreasing in relation to the size of the Orchestra for which they are working. Hence PR Directors working for relatively small orchestras might only earn $26,000 or more per year, while PR Directors working with larger orchestras have yearly incomes ranging from $29,000 to $75,000 or more.
Most orchestras employ at least a part-time person for this position, bettering the chances for those looking to work in a PR capacity.
The Director of Public Relations can advance their career by obtaining a position with a more prestigious orchestra. However, this is easier said than done, as these are jobs are difficult to obtain. Additionally, the individual may move into a position as the Director of Development in the development department.
Education and Training
Most orchestras desire Directors of Public Relations with a BA or MA degree, so courses in journalism, communications, public relations, publicity, and marketing are extremely beneficial. Also, knowledge of orchestra activities is helpful.
Experience, Skills, and Personality
The Director of Public Relations needs to possess writing skills and writing experience. Oftentimes, these people come from jobs with newspapers and magazines. Others will work as Assistants with orchestras or other companies. In addition to writing skills, the Director of Public Relations must possess a strong list of media contacts, and as is the case with most PR jobs, he or she must be able to work under pressure.
Unions and Associations
The PR Director could be a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), which is the organization that aims to uphold the ethics of those involved in PR. The PRSA also holds seminars, and distributes magazines, pamphlets and other information that are useful to those in the field of PR. The American Symphony Orchestra League (ASOL) is another option, which also provides seminars, workshops, etc.
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Check for internship programs made available through orchestras, colleges, and organizations.
- Check for openings listed in the ASOL newsletter and other regional arts organization publications.
- Contact a number of orchestras and send them your résumé and writing samples. Ask that they keep your resume on file.
- Make sure you check out opportunities online.