Press agents manage the public image of their client, and they may be employed by an individual, company, government agency, or other entity. Press agents can have a variety of duties, including writing and editing speeches. They may hold press conferences or issue statements to the media regarding their client.
Press agents control the images of their clients, from individual performers or brands to government entities or multi-national companies. They develop the best way to deliver information to the public, including their clients' activities, intentions, or accomplishments. Depending on the size, purpose, or industry of the client, a press agent might also be known as a public relations specialist, press secretary, media relations specialist, or publicist. Education requirements vary, but many hold bachelor's degrees in public relations, journalism, business, or a related field.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in public relations, business or other relevant field|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||6% (all types of public relations specialists)|
|Average Salary (2015)*||$65,830 (all types of public relations specialists)|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
A press agent's primary function is to maintain a positive relationship between a client or employer and the public. Press agents use a range of communications methods such as press releases, advertisements, performances, and conferences. Public image is considered an important part of an organization's success, so press agents might be involved in developing certain aspects of business strategy.
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One of the many responsibilities of press agents is writing or editing speeches. These may be delivered by the press agent or a client representative. A press agent may be tasked with holding press conferences or issuing informational bulletins to media outlets. Press agents also present information to an organization's employees or shareholders, developing printed materials to be distributed at conferences or shareholder meetings.
A press agent can also be in charge of scheduling public appearances and lectures or creating events designed to promote a client, such as contests or product displays. Typical duties include responding to public inquiries about a client or working with advertising representatives to develop commercials and other advertisements.
Press agents must be aware of the client's public image needs in order to develop the right public relations strategy. Related responsibilities include acquiring the appropriate knowledge of an industry, developing the proper technological or communication skills, and staying informed about cultural norms.
In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that the median annual salary earned by public relations specialists, including, press agents, was $56,770, while the average was $65,830. The middle half of specialists earned between $41,520 and $78,340 a year, per the BLS in May 2015.
The size or specific industry of the client organization can influence a press agent's earnings, as can geographical location. Areas with high concentrations of entertainment and advertising firms, government agencies, or corporate headquarters tend to have higher employment and wage rates. For example, in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan-area a public relations specialist's mean salary in 2015 was $96,090 a year. In the New York City/Jersey City metropolitan area, the mean was $74,830 annually, and in Los Angeles the mean was $73,050 a year, per the BLS.
Press agents need to understand how information affects public perception and ensure that the appropriate information is released in press statements or speeches that they provide to their client or present themselves on behalf of the company or organization. Having a bachelor's degree in a relevant field is a common requirement, but press agents also need to develop their public speaking skills as well as their abilities to develop promotional strategies and write a variety of public relations materials.