A Communications Officer is responsible for managing any messages, press releases and the overall image of a company and working hard to promote that company in the media.
A Communications or Press Officer is the point of contact between a company and the outside world. They are responsible for promoting any work or news the company has, managing any press coverage they are receiving in the wider media and ensuring that they are perceived in a positive light by its customers and clients.
Communications Officers can be employed at a companies in a range of sectors and work closely with Marketing departments. Many work in house and are mainly trusted with pushing the message from their company, such as new research or a new product. Many of the tasks involve drafting and promoting press releases, dealing with press enquiries and managing coverage in the media.
To be a successful Communications or Press Officer, graduates need to have flawless communication skills. This means the ability to quickly write clean and accurate copy, be able to handle difficult press enquiries and able to control how their image is seen. While the best Communications or Press Officers are the ones with the biggest contact books, for graduates one of the key things to show employers is the confidence and people skills to help get the message across.
Communications Officer Salaries
The average starting salary for a Communications Officer is £20,330. This is a highly competitive figure for graduates to receive especially in a highly ambitious field like Media. Compared to fields like Marketing or Content writing, this is certainly a respectable sum to look forward to earning.
Like many different positons in Media and Advertising and Public Relations, experience is absolutely key, not just for getting their foot in the door but the more experienced and therefore more senior Press Officer or Communications Officer they become, the higher salaries they can demand.
The Daily Duties of a Communications Officer
As a Communications or Press Officer the role is very reactionary, requiring graduates to react to developments around them so they can implement their duties in the role. The role is very varied day to day and they can be expected to work to tight deadlines and be very precise when they are called into action. Here are a few of the daily duties that graduates can expect to do as a Communications or Press Officer:
- Dealing with press enquiries - Press/Communications Officers are the first point of contact for the press and journalists to get in touch with when enquiring about what's happening in that particular company. This includes dealing with things like developments in the news that effect the company or putting journalists in contact with experts who work at the company.
- Drafting press releases - Graduate Press and Communications Officers will be called upon to draft and circulate press releases to inform the outside world about what has been going on in the company they work in. This includes abiding by best practice and dealing with any supplementary enquiries that might come off the back of a particular piece of news.
- Planning PR initiatives - Creating new initiatives that will help raise awareness of a particular decision made by the company or new direction they are taking will be the responsibility of the Communications Officer. For example, if one company were promoting an expansion into a new industry, it would be their responsibility to let the relevant media contacts know and how they will approach the unveiling of this particular news.
- Raising publicity - Similarly to assisting on PR initiatives, Communications Officers will be trusted to raise and maintain positive publicity for their company. Whether this was attracting industry coverage or conducting interesting research in the field the company operates in, the Communications Officer is responsible for making sure people know about the company.
- Tracking media coverage - The reverse side to this is tracking the coverage a company receives and making sure this is always in a favourable light. Some companies can often face difficulties in the press and in coverage and it is the responsibility of the Communications Officer to fight fires when necessary and ensure a positive image of their organisation is being suggested.
Graduates looking to start a career as a Communications or Press Officer must be ready to deal with the stressful and slow times that role often experiences. They must also be prepared to think clearly when the pressure is on and to be intelligent with their promotion. This is an incredible career path for proactive graduates to pursue and can be extremely rewarding when their work sees the company thrive commercially and in the mind of the public or industry.