In times of crisis, promotion, and general awareness needs, an organization needs an important player on their team: a publicist. Whether it’s an athlete, musician, actor, or even a company, these figures need a publicist to maintain their public image. The criteria of taking on the job of a publicist consists of many things. A publicist job description includes time management, the ability to write, quick thinking, good communication, and being detail oriented. But what exactly does a publicist do?
Besides these basic attributes of a person working in the communications field, what is the day to day – or even hour to hour – work for a publicist? A publicist is someone in the public relations field. PRSSA.org defines public relations as, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” This means that from client to audience you have to create an ongoing, positive, connection between the two.
While creating and maintaining this relationship, public relations practitioners must be able to understand how to research their audience by what they want and how you are able to change public opinion through research finds. You also need to be able to implement plans made to meet specific goals for your client. Working in public relations means that you are always planning ahead of time; but what exactly are you planning for your client?
Company Publicist Job Description
A job description for a Publicity Manager position at Freeform, a part of The Walt Disney Company, described this job as a promotional position for the television channel. Qualifications include: create an interesting story that is, “interesting and newsworthy,” gain coverage for Freeform programming, write press releases, media alerts, and pitches. Other things listed in this extensive posting are: participating in press tours, collaborate with social and digital marketing, and schedule talent appearances. Another interesting task is attending producer’s meetings, table reads, and tapings. This description is for an organization with a lot of moving pieces and requires at least five years of experience.
Another way to work as a publicist is for several individuals as separate clients. In an article from Elle Magazine, celebrity publicists were quoted how they approach awards season with their clients. Positions in this area of public relations ranged from celebrity publicist with their own PR firm, film publicist, and former assistant account executive at a boutique PR firm. That being said, it is important to observe that their names were not given. This could be because publicists are not to be seen nor heard as a part of their client’s persona. A publicist’s job is to promote their client and keep a good image for them as though it’s effortless.
The article describes the hustle and bustle of working a red carpet as a publicist. You need to be able to prepare them for anything at any given moment; like running back to a hotel for earrings and fixing their dresses on red carpets. Specifically, at a red carpet you need to make sure they talk to the press outlets that you want them to talk to. You also need to know your client’s personality. When a client’s words are often twisted, you have to prep them for certain questions. This part of being a publicist feels glamorous, but not without it’s stressful moments.
A publicist job description is broad, but it can be very specific to each client. Publicists typically make $46,000 a year according to glassdoor.com. While in college, it is a good idea to learn about public relations, interpersonal communication, and event planning. Obtaining an internship in these fields is the best way to learn the criteria for a publicist career. The role of a publicist is very client driven, just as it would be at a PR agency for a big company as a client. The only difference would be that as a celebrity publicist, you have to always give them your undivided attention. If you feel that you would like to work in media and entertainment, this career is the path for you.