“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers”. Public relations (PR)is the practice of managing the flow of information between an individual or an organisation (such as a business, government agency, or a non-profit corporation) and the public. Public Relations can play a significant role in building the public image of the organisation. The revolution in communication has considerably altered the human dynamics. The new leadership in all institutions, government or private, has become aware of the importance of public attitudes. All such developments have widened the scope of Public Relations today. One can seek homework help from HomeworkHelp.today if he needs to excel in this field.
The first World Assembly of Public Relations Associations, held in Mexico City in August 1978, defined the practice of public relations as “the art and social science of analysing trends, predicting their consequences, counselling organisational leaders and implementing planned programs of action, which will serve both the organisation and the public interest.”
Public Relation encompasses activities like monitoring, evaluating and maintaining mutual relations and creating an understanding between an organisation and the public. The word ‘Public’ does not mean the masses; rather it includes shareholders, consumers, media and even the employees of the organisation. Its objective is to improve channels of communication and establish methods of setting up a roadmap for a flow of information and understanding.
Basic course requirements
Honestly speaking, any graduation degree is acceptable for PR specialisation, but a degree in journalism or mass communication is a safer option. A minimum of bachelor’s degree in Public Relations is desirable. Most institutes offer an integrated course in Advertising and Public Relations. Post- graduate studies in the field enhance your knowledge. Alternatively, one can choose any stream and then go for the post- graduate studies in the field of mass communication. However, a PR degree does not teach the subject as a marketing tool. In this profession, experience carries more weight than qualification.
For admission into premier colleges in Public Relations, one needs to qualify a two or three tier process. Various institutions conduct their entrance examination for the course. The test is designed to assess the candidate’s creativity, out-of -the -box thinking, and written communication skills. List of entrance exams:-
- Indian Institute of Mass Communication Entrance
- CAT entrance(for admission into MICA)
- Xavier Institute of Communication Entrance
- SNAP entrance(for admission into Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication)
- Benaras Hindu University Entrance
- Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan Entrance
Group discussion and Interview stages follow the written examination. It is designed to test the candidate’s overall suitability for the profession besides his knowledge of economy and business. Most of the institutes require the candidate to have a good profile (extra-curricular activities) and preferably some work experience in the field.
Some of the top colleges for pursuing Public Relations are:-
- Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi
- Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad
- Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication, Pune
- Xavier Institute of Mass Communication, Mumbai
- Benaras Hindu University, Varanasi
- Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, New Delhi
The course curriculum is dynamic and adapted to the needs of changing industry. The theory of Public Relations and Public Relations Writing provides a theoretical framework to the curriculum. Practical learning in the form of lectures, seminars, group discussions, brand and social campaigns designing supplement academic learning. Candidates also study about various types of media like print, radio, new media as this profession requires strong interface with the press. Usually, every college has a month internship in a PR agency to enable the students to gain hands-on experience. Some of the handy books for Public Relations are:-
- Public Relations Management by Jaishri Jethwaney and N N Sarkar
- Corporate Communication: Principles and Practice by Jaishree Jethwaney
- Advertising Management by Jaishree Jethwaney and Shruti Jain
- Public Relations Strategy by Oliver Sandra
- Communication in Organization by Dalmar Fisher
- Corporate Communications: A 21st Century Primer by Joseph Fernandez
- Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
Cost and Funding
A good Public Relations course can cost between Rs 40,000 and Rs 1lakh depending on the college you choose. Private colleges charge hefty fees. If you wish to finance your PR course, try availing educational loans that various banks offer. Freeships and scholarships are also available for students from the weaker financial background.
Public Relations professionals have bright career options available. They can find suitable employment opportunities in both private and public sectors. Government departments and PSUs also require the expertise of PR managers. Besides, they can get a job in media houses and corporate. Banking, finance, insurance, investment and export firms also look out for PR professionals. They can work for hotels, tour and travel agencies and private consultancy firms. Furthermore, they can serve as PR professionals for political figures, models, and film stars. It is desirable to pursue a course in visual communication along with PR course to get placed with filmmaking agencies. Companies such as Balaji Telefilms, Mukta Arts are on a lookout for creative heads and other creative professionals.
PR professionals commonly work for PR agencies or in the Corporate Communication wing of companies. At PR companies, they service clients who may be startups, companies, political parties or celebrities. Maintaining a public image is one of the key tasks of an organisation. How the public perceives an organisation is a fundamental element for its market standing and Public Relations Officer plays a crucial role here. PROs play a vital role in creating and maintaining relationships within as well as outside the organisation. Within the organisation, they organise management-employee meets, inform employees about organisational policies. They also serve as a liaison with government departments, trade unions, and the press whose cooperation is imperative for the smooth functioning of the organisation. A crisis is an ultimate test for a PRO. As a PR person, one may face a situation when they save the face of the team. How well you do this, will reflect on PR credentials. A new aspect of this career involves bringing about the passage of laws favourable to the special interest group a PRO represents. It is a strategy used to raise public consciousness and influence policy makers with regards to environmental, human rights as well as educational concerns.
Some of the top PR agencies in India are:
- Weber Shandwick
- IPAN Hill &Knowlton
- Hanmer MSL
- Genesis Burson- Marsteller
- Text 100
- Ogilvy and Mather
- Apco Worldwide
- Adfactors PR
- Fleishman- Hillard
The pay package for a PR trainee can vary between Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000 per month depending on the education and skill-set. Those employed with PSUs can expect a good entry level pay. Salary increases with increasing experience in the field.
Qualities required for PR professional
A PR professional should have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal to express clearly. You will not only need to be an excellent speaker but also a good listener. Ability to get along with diverse people both inside and outside an organisation is necessary. A PR professional should be sensitive to subtle nuances in language and culture because the job will involve communicating with a range of people across different mediums (social media, in- person, on the telephone and in writing) across different territories. He should be polite and be capable of working even under pressure and meeting deadlines successfully. He should be thoroughly abreast of organisation’s latest developments and be knowledgeable about market and clients’ needs. Knowing a variety of languages is an asset as the job involves communicating across various media. An organising ability is also desirable since one has to organise various conferences, lectures, exhibitions and other events. A PR professional should be creative not only regarding writing but in ways to promote businesses and approaching new clients. Analytical skills are also needed to interpret research and plan activity.
PR professionals get the highest pay among communication professionals. Communication skills come in handy for them. They can quickly switch between professions if they so desire. It is rewarding to see your hard work being paid off — getting your news covered by media outlets. A PR professional builds a lot of contacts from journalists to CEOs.
It is a highly competitive field. It is tough for a fresher to get through a good company since there are limited openings and the experienced people are more likely to get a chance. People may perceive PR specialists as spin doctors’’ using tactics to sway the opinion of the general public and not being always truthful. However, the reality is quite the opposite. A PR professional has to work long hours and even on weekends. Clients expect media coverage all the time, so building a good rapport with journalists is a must. Also, PR professionals often switch companies fast to make quick money. It may lead to an unstable career if not planned properly.
I suggest one should weigh the pros and cons before joining any profession. Same is the case with PR. Choose it only if you have excellent communication skills and a knack for creativity. Be prepared to work long hours and handle stress.
This article aims to resolve doubts and queries of students who take Public Relations as their career. Did I miss out anything? Let me know in the comments below.