Depending on the size of the company, a public relations assistant may be a standard administrative assistant within a PR department or a junior member of the PR team. A PR assistant performs regular secretarial duties and may also send faxes, send press releases from a template, and prepare kits of press clippings.
It takes many years to build a reputation---otherwise known as a brand---but only moments to destroy one. The main purpose of public relations is brand management. PR practitioners serve as the voice of an organization, discussing both good news and difficult situations with the media, government officials and the public. PR practitioners rely on a wide variety of skills and experience. The trust, relationships and goodwill that a practitioner builds up with key contacts during good times become crucial during times of adversity. In addition to crisis management, PR professionals also work to build or sustain awareness of a company and its products.
A public relations assistant is an entry-level professional in the PR or communications department. At most companies, the PR assistant is responsible for ensuring that his team members---and the organization overall---can operate efficiently. Tasks are aligned toward this goal and may include drafting press releases, posting content online, clipping business-relevant news from the newspaper, and performing research on trends and competitors for other team members.
Beyond the basics, duties of a PR assistant may differ significantly based on the type of company and the size of the PR team. Other tasks may include: managing public appearances such as executive speeches and press conferences; writing speeches; writing "ready-to-use" content for potential submission to local news organizations; and representing the company through television and radio interviews. In recent years, PR has evolved at many companies to include aspects of new media, so today's public relations assistant may monitor social networking sites, help shoot or edit video, and even draft compelling short, Web-friendly messages about the company and its products to post on microblogging sites.
The PR assistant is an important part of the team at any company. Beyond helping everyone else work more efficiently, she is likely to be the person who spots potential brand problems by following the newspapers, blogs and competitors. By presenting those problems to senior team members, along with thorough background information and potential solutions, she can demonstrate her value and help inform the team's final decision. You never know when a crisis may hit or how large it may be, so all PR staff members, despite their experience or title, can be crucial in managing a crisis.
PR assistants are beneficial in helping a company use its resources most efficiently. Plus, serving as a PR assistant is an advisable way to begin a career in communications or business. PR practitioners get to share their expertise with management regularly, have many opportunities to contribute to projects showing their value and---assignment by assignment---learn a little bit about every area of the business. Skilled and hard-working PR assistants have a lot of development opportunities as projects continually pop up and are generally top choices for more senior jobs as they become available.
- Photo Credit the operator with a videocamera image by terex from Fotolia.com
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