Publicist: How to Become a Publicist

Published Aug 31, 2009

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Publicists are public relations specialists hired by businesses and individuals to promote products and services through the media. Successful Publicists have good networking skills and understand how to use media, such as Internet, television, and newspaper, to create positive publicity for their clients. Most entry-level publicity jobs require a bachelor's degree, though there is no single degree path toward becoming a Publicist. Those who wish to work as Publicists should major in business, communications or marketing and take some writing courses.

Publicist Career Summary

Publicists generate and manage media publicity for people, businesses and products. They do this by writing press releases, managing media campaigns and performing other public relations functions. The Publicist's main responsibility is to generate favorable press coverage on behalf of the client and to serve as liaison between the client and the public. A good Publicist will cultivate relationships with journalists and other members of the media in order to effectively place stories through them via press releases, word-of-mouth or both. Publicists are often required to think creatively and be persistent in getting a message across. Jobs in public relations are expected to grow by 18% through 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov. The BLS also reports that the average annual salary for a public relations specialist was $58,960 in May 2008, and the top ten percent of those sampled earned more than $97,910.

Education Required to Become A Publicist

While there is no particular degree requirement to become a Publicist, one will need strong writing skills, knowledge of several areas of the media industry and business-savvy to perform the job. That's why most Publicists major in some area of communications, public relations, business or marketing during their undergraduate studies. It is recommended that those who wish to become Publicists take courses in marketing, journalism, digital media and management. Increasingly, a bachelor's degree is becoming preferred by most employers and a requirement to earn a position in some publicity firms.

Job Training and Certifications Required to Become a Publicist

One of the most common aspirations within the publicity industry is to work one's way up within a company, with the eventual goal of opening one's own business. Certifications are not required of Publicists, but it is strongly recommended that students find an internship while they are earning their bachelor's degree. This internship can be with a public relations company; however, interning at a newspaper, magazine or television station can also be helpful in learning the inner-workings of the media, which a Publicist must understand well.

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