The television show Mad Men may have brought the advertising business to the front of the pop culture mainstream, but these days the related fields of public relations and marketing dominate the marketplace. The need for public relations specialists, with an average salary of $62k per year, is expected to grow faster than average. The need for market research analysts, with an average salary of $65k, is expected to grow much faster than average.
PR Specialist: Bring in the Specialists
Part writer, part spokesperson, and part sales professional, public relations specialists help companies and high-profile individuals maintain (or recover) a good public image. Depending on the job responsibilities, this position can also be called communication specialists or media specialists.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the job responsibilities of a public relations specialist as:
- Writing press releases and preparing information for the media
- Responding to information requests from the media
- Helping clients communicate effectively with the public
- Helping to maintain their organization’s corporate image and identity
- Drafting speeches and arrange interviews for an organization’s top executives
- Evaluating public opinion of clients through social media
An entry-level job in this field typically requires a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, or communications and a portfolio of work.
Market Research: Going to Market
Before a company can sell a product or sell an image, they like to know what their audience wants. The people who find that out are called market research analysts. They use surveys, literature reviews, polls, and other tools to gather information on demographics, needs, buying habits and other vital information for businesses.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the job responsibilities of a market research analyst as:
- Monitoring and forecasting marketing and sales trends
- Measuring the effectiveness of marketing programs and strategies
- Gather data on consumers, competitors, and market conditions
- Analyze data using statistical software
- Convert complex data and findings into understandable reports
Most jobs as a market research analyst require at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration, social sciences, or communications and some require a master’s degree.
Writers: The Write Stuff
Though everyone writes during school, not everyone can do it well. A survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that more than 77% of business owners list good writing skills as their top priority for prospective employees.
Writing jobs in this field range from copywriters who handle short and punchy words for slogans, sales pitches, and even television commercials to marketing and public relations writers who write longer form pieces like press releases, blog posts, case studies, and even e-books. Pay can vary widely for writers depending on experience, location, and size of the company, but the average is around $67,120 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the job responsibilities of a writer as:
- Conduct research to get factual information and authentic detail
- Write advertising copy for newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, and the Internet
- Present drafts to editors and clients for feedback
- Work with editors and clients to shape material for publishing
Most jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree, but occasionally companies will accept experience and other training instead of a degree. For those looking to thrive in this field for the long-term, having excellent technical skills is almost as important as good writing skills. Writers in these fields will likely be writing for digital properties such as webpages, emails, and social media more than magazines or brochures and boosting your technical skills will make sure your writing is a good match with the platform.
Art Director: Fine Art
Art directors are responsible for the visual look of ads, webpages, emails, and social media posts. Often starting as graphic designers, photographers, or web designers, art directors use images to tell a customer story and make an average of $97k per year doing it. The global PR and marketing company Fleishman Hillard had this to say about the importance of art in PR and marketing, “Whether via a consumer’s laptop, tablet or smartphone, content matters more than ever. Design has given PR a new medium to tell a story and is used to optimize key messages and speed up the delivery of those messages...Images and video make for a more interactive experience, which gives readers something to view along with a press release.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the job responsibilities of an art director as:
- Developing the overall look or style of a publication, an advertising campaign, or a theater, television, or film set
- Managing graphic designers, set and exhibit designers, or other design staff
- Reviewing and approving designs, artwork, photography, and graphics developed by other staff members
- Talking to clients to develop an artistic approach and style
- Developing detailed budgets and timelines
As with the writing jobs, most art director jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree, but occasionally companies will accept experience and other training instead of a degree.
Marketing Manager: Like a Boss
As with many other careers, rising through the ranks in advertising, public relations, and marketing to the level of manager is a key path to success. Careers as advertising, promotions, and marketing managers have an average pay of $141k per year and the field is expected to grow faster than average. To get a job as an advertising, promotions, or marketing manager you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree and experience in the field.
Whether you’re a writer, designer, sales or research professional, there’s a career with high pay and strong growth for you in the advertising, public relations, or marketing fields. With widespread adoption of the internet in the second half of the 20th century, these fields have overlapped and many of the top jobs in the field combine aspects of all three.
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More Reading: Business, Marketing, and Communications Career Guide