How to become a Press Relation Manager

How to become a Press Relation Manager

The Press Relation Manager plays an essential role in the communication of the company, the institution or the project for which he works. He is the intermediary between the company and its various publics and targets through the media. He/she acts as an interface between the communication department or the general management and the journalists they request or to whom he/she responds.

The function of Press Relation Manager

The Press Relation Manager, also known as Press Attaché, is responsible for communicating on behalf of his company, his brand, his institution or his clients if he works in an agency or independently, through the media. In order to reach the public concerned by his product, service, project, event, etc., he selects the appropriate media and establishes relationships of trust with the journalists who will relay the information he provides them.

To do this, he/she writes communication documents that provide information to journalists: press releases and press kits. He/she has an up-to-date press file in which he/she has listed all the journalists likely to relay his/her information as well as the publication conditions necessary for the effectiveness of his/her communication (closing dates, publication dates, editorial directors, sections, etc.).

He can also be contacted by journalists spontaneously or for various requests for information. This means that he/she is the "press contact" who will be responsible for organizing a visit or an interview requested by a journalist. 

He/she sets up, independently or in relation with other employees concerned by the press communication of his/her company, different events intended for journalists. They also manage the arrival of journalists at public events: product launches, press conferences, press trips, site visits, anniversary events, etc.

His objective is to ensure the best messages and the best transmission of information possible while knowing that the journalist works in complete independence.

The PR Manager's tasks and missions

The daily life of the PR Manager is made up of many aspects, depending on the time of year and the media calendar of his company, but also of unpredictable events (crisis communication). If he/she works on his/her own or within a press agency, he/she will have to represent different clients concerned by different objectives.

His different tasks can be : 

  • Developing press partnerships by maintaining and enriching a portfolio of press / journalist relations.
  • Managing press requests and acting as an interface between journalists' requests and internal managers (CEO, HR, etc.)
  • Writing the arguments (press releases, press kits, other information media) for journalists to promote the event, the site, the product, the service, the personality, etc.
  • Planning and monitoring press campaigns in conjunction with the general management
  • Managing the press guests present at the events
  • Ensuring media monitoring of the event, the site, the company, the product
  • Monitoring the performance of his/her actions by counting their impact and the press fallouts (ie: the articles, interviews, etc, published as a consequence of his/her press relations campaign).

Qualities and profile of the PR Manager

The role of press attaché requires two major qualities: an understanding of the company, its activity and products and its challenges, and interpersonal skills in order to establish solid links with its information relays, which are mainly journalists. He/she must have a great sense of reactivity and be able to adapt his/her speech, both written and oral, in order to provide journalists with the information that best suits them, and to position him/her as a resource person.

He/she must also have a very good written expression, master the composition and writing of press documents such as the press release and the press kit. 

He/she must be highly organized in his/her work and follow up with all journalists and media that they contact or invite to a press event.

  • Sense of contact and ability to develop and maintain relationships
  • Mastery of the communication issues of the sponsoring company
  • English or another language
  • Knowledge of the media and major players in the sector
  • Writing skills + mastery of computer tools
  • Curiosity and general knowledge
  • Ability to adapt
  • Organizational skills and great autonomy
  • Availability and flexibility
  • Good presentation

How to become a Press Relation Manager?

To work in the press department of a company or a press agency, it is necessary to have a good command of communication and the work of journalists. 

The position of Manager is accessible after a few years of experience, during which the young press officer builds up his network and his address book.

PR Managers generally come from literary studies, communication schools, or business schools specializing in external communication. 

There are also PR Managers who come from a non-communications background and who, with experience, have developed communication and interpersonal skills that have enabled them to move into press relations.

The Paris School of Business offers specializations in Communication and Marketing that provide students with a solid training to enter the press relations field: the business and managerial approach combined with a deep knowledge of communication and information circuits makes their profiles very attractive, especially for large groups or multinational companies. Thus, the partnerships between PSB and iconic french companies are a great gate for students looking for an internship or a first position.

Career and salary

Media and press relations managers in France start out with a salary of between 35,000 and 40,000 euros gross per year, and after 5 years of experience, they can earn an average of 54,000 euros per year, depending on the size of the company and its specificities (£44,000 in the UK and  $115,000 in the US).

 This position allows for a certain amount of mobility between companies as well as internally within the various communication management positions. It is also possible for the press relations specialist to work on his own account or within a PR agency which will allow him to vary the subjects according to the clients.