What do you want to become?
PUBLIC RELATIONS COUNSELOR
Alternate Career Titles:
Publicist, P.R. Counselor
Career Overview: Establishes an artist, company, or musical group’s image, writes press releases, assembles press kits and arranges press conferences.
Career Salary Range: $25,000 to $200,000+
Become a Public Relations Counselor
Public Relations (PR) Counselors are responsible for creating an image for the group, artist or business they are representing. This process begins by evaluating the public’s perception or image of the client. From this work the PR Counselor might find that the client is well-known, but has a poor image among the general public. If the client is just getting started in the business, the Public Relations Counselor must build the client’s image from scratch.
To develop effective campaigns the PR Counselor must know how to write press releases, assemble press kits, and arrange press conferences. To be successful with their campaigns the Counselor must know how to find an interesting angle that the public will buy into. To do this, PR Counselors usually spend a lot of time getting to know clients and uncovering any important information that might allow them to find the proper image to present to the public. For example, a Singer may have had a really tough road to success, including a tough childhood, but now has flourished as a star in the music business. The Counselor could capitalize on this fact, and work to give the public a better understanding of the Singer. This may make the Singer appear more “human” and more appealing to the general public.
Successful PR Counselors usually have many media contacts to call upon when they need to generate excitement among the press for their clients. Those who work in public relations must be able to work under a lot of pressure because there are constant demands by clients and many deadlines that must be met. Usually, the PR Counselor reports to his or her supervisor, and sometimes he or she might report directly to the client.
Oftentimes the Public Relations Counselor works behind the scenes, not receiving any recognition for much of their hard work. On the other side, an unsuccessful campaign will often lead to an unhappy client who blames the Public Relations Counselor for their troubles.
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Depending on the firm or company, geographical location, and type of job held, salaries will vary for the Counselor. One can expect to earn anywhere from $25,000 to $200,000 plus per year. The Counselor can also expect to earn 10% to 15% of all income from the new clients they bring to the firm.
A Public Relations Counselor or Director at a radio station might make between $25,000 and $50,000 and possibly more at a larger station. A Public Relations Counselor or Director working at a concert hall or auditorium can expect to earn about the same.
Those who are looking for employment as a PR Counselor will be faced with a fair amount of opportunities. Jobs may be available at public relations firms that specialize in music, or even at firms that only have one or two clients in the music industry. There might also be opportunities available with radio stations, nightclubs, concert halls, arenas, music stores, and record labels.
Individuals who begin working in public relations firms will eventually begin to earn more experience. With that, they may be assigned more responsibility, higher profile projects, or more challenging clients. Others advance by going out on their own, while others find similar positions in larger or more prestigious PR firms.
Education and Training
Due to competition, formal education and a college or music conservatory degree are preferable for a PR Counselor. Communications, public relations, journalism, English, advertising, marketing, or music merchandising are the areas where your studies should be focused. There are very useful seminars given across the country by colleges, universities, and the Public Relations Society of America.
Experience, Skills, and Personality
A good PR Counselor should have excellent writing skills and must be creative enough to come up with a special campaign. The PR Counselor must have a good knowledge of the music business, and he or she must understand the complexities of the industry in order to be effective in his or her client’s campaign.
Unions and Associations
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is a helpful association for PR Counselors. This association is run by those involved in public relations and works to keep ethics in public relations high. Also, the association prints a magazine and hosts seminars throughout the year. For those Public Relations Counselors who deal with theatrical productions, the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers (ATPAM) is also an option.
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Try to get some internship experience in the public relations department of a record label, radio station, or concert hall.
- The Public Relations Society of America gives regular seminars, which are great opportunities for making contacts as well as learning new skills.