PR Basics: What is Public Relations Management All About?

By Tiara Ogabang

Big shoes to fill 

If you’ve been studying public relations, then you’ve probably at least considered pursuing a position in public relations management. 

But what is public relations management all about? What would be required of you if you did pursue this role? Most importantly, would you be able to fill such big shoes, taking on a great deal of responsibility? 

Only you can answer the question of whether you’re actually ready to take on such a role, but we can definitely help out by explaining some of the core aspects of a job in PR management. 

In many ways, PR management isn’t terribly different from a management position in other industries. 

Your main job is to keep both eyes on the big picture while managing a team of employees who handle different crucial tasks that contribute to the achievement of much larger goals. 

Managers within PR also often need to be the ones to communicate with the client in question for each campaign, especially if the client is upset about the way things are progressing. 

In the end, PR management is all about being a leader, and all that title entails. Let’s launch into some specifics to see if you’re up to snuff. 

Successful communication 

As a PR manager, you need to be able to communicate well. That seems pretty obvious, right? Of course managers need to be able to communicate effectively with clients and their employees. 

But it’s not always as simple as it sounds, especially if you’re not used to working in a leadership position.

Successful communication

Successful communication involves speaking clearly and directly as well as listening attentively. 

If any of these elements aren’t in the equation, a situation can quickly fall apart. 

Let’s say you’re working on securing a new client. Before you meet with the client, you want to know everything there is to know about them. 

You ask one of your team members to research the client and present you with a report. 

If you leave it there, the employee may not give you the results you want, especially if they’re new to the company or new to the PR industry as a whole. 

If there’s specific information you’re especially concerned about, mention it to the employee. Even better, send a detailed request in an email so that the employee can then refer back to it as needed. 

When the employee presents the findings, they might mention that some of the information hasn’t been 100% confirmed. If you’re not listening attentively, then you may take all the info as confirmed, which could lead to problems when speaking with the client.  

A note on staying accessible

We’d like to briefly comment on the idea of staying accessible to team members when serving in a leadership position. 

There are certain leaders who feel it’s best to keep some distance between themselves and their employees, in order to maintain a sense of authority and expertise. 

But as workplaces continue to change, there has been a steady push toward a more accessible leadership style, one where employees are free to offer new ideas for consideration or even just ask more questions about a particular course of action. 

The way you lead is up to you, but it’s at least worth considering making yourself more accessible to employees and their ideas, especially if they seem eager to contribute.  

Consistent professionalism 

Consistent professionalism is expected of any employee, and failing to act in a professional manner could easily end an otherwise promising career, but this is particularly important for public relations managers. 

It’s inevitable that there will be times when your work is very challenging or even when things go horribly wrong.

Consistent professionalism

With every client, there’s a lot on the line, from the sense of trust with that client to the health and success of the campaign all the way up to the reputation of your PR agency. 

Mistakes and crises can be incredibly frustrating, but letting these moments of frustration negatively affect how you conduct yourself as a professional is not an option. 

Acting in an unprofessional manner toward your employees or toward a client can quickly undermine their trust in you and may even make them question your position as a leader. 

You should always try to find healthy ways to communicate disappointment and maintain a workplace-friendly demeanor at all times. 

Extensive expertise 

Employees never want to feel that their manager doesn’t know what they’re talking about, which is exactly why you need to know your stuff if you want to enter PR management for the long haul. 

It also generally helps to earn a leadership position after spending time in the lower levels of the company, familiarizing yourself with what entry-level employees have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. 

That way, once you earn a promotion to a management role, you’ll have a great understanding of the work your team members need to take care of and how long it generally takes to do it. 

But sometimes even that past experience isn’t enough. If you’re overseeing employees with a variety of different skillsets and job types, you should make an effort to gain a batter understanding of all those different roles. 

You don’t need to be an absolute expert in each one, but making the effort and even asking certain employees to explain different aspects of their work can help create a genuine sense of authority and trust with the people you work with. 

Reliable leadership

Reliable leadership

As you can probably tell, many of these traits and requirements center around one singular idea: you need to be a leader. 

That’s a statement that can mean different things to different people, but it will always be helpful to ask yourself, “Am I being a good leader right now?” 

As a public relations manager, this is something that you should be asking yourself every day. You need to be your own worst critic and ask yourself how you could be doing better. 

With time and experience, you’ll learn how to do all of these things with skill and tact, and really, that’s what being a PR manager is all about.