Joined: 05 Mar 2012
Joined: 05 Mar 2012
The Roles of School PR Professionals
- When I tell people that I work in public relations, I am occasionally met with a blank stare: what does someone who works in public relations actually do? Often, public relations is mistaken for advertising when in reality, public relations encompasses a number of communications-related strategies and tactics. When you work in public relations, every day is different and you will often find yourself working on a number of different projects at any given time.
- Often, the people who work in public relations for schools have titles like "community relations manager" or "communications director." These titles are apt, since the purpose of a school public relations professional is to help improve educational programs and services with a two-way communications process. Educational public relations programs help interpret public attitudes and shape policies and procedures to best suit the students and families in a community.
- So, what exactly does a school public relastions person do all day? A school public relations person helps keep internal and external communications processes run smoothly by handling any of the following functions:
- Communicate with publics. A school public relations person handles all of a school district's publications, like newsletters and internal bulletins that are distributed among staff to keep everyone involved with the education system fully informed on news.
- Liaises with the media. When a school district has news to share with the public, the public relations or communications professional writes a press release, media alert or media pitch to local newspapers, television and radio contacts. When the media is interested in writing or running a story about your school district, a public relations person acts as the "coach" by making sure the journalist has all of the information they need and maintains interest.
- Acts quickly in a crisis. Hopefully, your school district hasn't had a major crisis in awhile. However, when something unfortunate happens, whether it's the resignation of an admininstrator or a natural disaster that affects the school, the public relations person will create a plan for the district to ensure that all appropriate parties have the facts, including the media.
- Provides media training for staff and adminstration. Occasionally, your PTA board members, staff or administrators may be called upon to comment on current events to the media. A public relations person will help prepare these individuals for on-camera speaking opportunities, print interviews and encourages non-teaching staff to participate actively in external communications.
- Community service outreach. Any interaction that your schools have with the greater community is a part of its public relations platform. Communications professionals work with community groups, like civic organizations, service clibs and volunteer programs to help bring the community into your schools.
- What are some of the responsibilities that your school's public relations person conducts? Come join the discussion in the PR for Schools Group.