Publicist Vs. PR Agent

Nov 15, 2019

Publicists and PR (public relations) agents both work towards a common goal for the companies or individuals they work to support. Several duties overlap, yet there are differences that set them apart from one another. Below are some key differences and similarities between the two roles to clarify how they compare.

Comparing Publicist to PR Agent

Public relations is the management of information between the public and a business or an individual, which could include Fortune 500 companies or celebrities. A publicist will typically spend more time writing press releases and pitching ideas to the media than a PR agent. A PR agent will usually work more with a company marketing team to implement their PR ideas, while a publicist commonly has individuals as clients.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2018-2028)**
Publicist Bachelor's Degree $45,961 8% (public relations and fundraising managers)
PR Agent Bachelor's Degree $47,861 (public relations specialist) 6% (public relations specialist)

Sources: *Payscale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Responsibilities of a Publicist vs. a PR Agent

The publicist and PR agent roles sound very similar until you delve into what duties are required on a day-to-day basis. A publicist tends to manage their clients more closely than a PR agent. A PR agent often works with marketing teams and social media outlets of organizations or businesses. Both work very hard to keep a positive image for their clients, but the PR agent tends to deal more with any negative press that comes their way.

Publicist

The main focus of the publicist is to represent their clients and to make sure their public image is always positive. They tend to create and execute public relations plans for their clients and are in charge of drafting and writing all press releases. Being organized, detail-oriented, creative, and a good writer is essential in this role. Although they sometimes represent companies, they often represent films, celebrities, authors, or other public figures. Travel tends to be a substantial part of this full-time job, and a requirement for publicists is always to maintain and build positive relationships with the media.

Job responsibilities of a publicist include:

  • Deal with day-to-day media relations
  • Maintain client social media accounts
  • Pitch ideas to media
  • Create successful PR campaigns

PR Agent

The main focus of a PR agent, also known as 'public relations specialists', is implementing the marketing or advertising strategies for their company or business. They typically work for a company versus an individual, and they usually keep regular business hours. This career frequently requires three to five years of experience in PR before moving into this role. Their primary focus is to respond to requests for information on the company, lead community events to maintain a positive outlook on their company.

Job responsibilities of a PR agent include:

  • Organize events and press conferences
  • Head marketing efforts within the community
  • Plan to improve market presence
  • Defuse unfavorable situations

Related Careers

If you are interested in the job of a PR agent, you may also want to look into professional fundraising. If you are interested in a career as a publicist, then you may also want to check out the details about a career as a creative writer.

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