A corporate relations specialist handles promotions and public relations for a company. Corporate relations specialists write and edit press releases, arrange interviews of key company personnel and work with other departments to provide information and market about their company. They mostly attempt to place a positive spin on their business but sometimes also have to work on putting out fires.
Corporate relations specialists, sometimes referred to as public relations specialists, work in a variety of industries. They deal primarily with print and broadcast journalists, assisting reporters getting the word out about their corporation or, in some cases, fending off reporters when the corporation wants to keep certain information confidential. Corporate relations specialists help design their company’s website, distribute press credentials and guest passes to events, and announce company landmarks via written release, many of which they distribute via email.
Corporate relations specialists must be skilled verbal communicators and possess strong writing and editing skills. They often act as a spokesperson for their corporation and therefore must maintain the professionalism and poise that comes with the job. They should be courteous, confident, organized and even energetic, since they often have to portray a positive, upbeat attitude when interacting with members of the press. On top of these qualities, corporate relations specialists will likely need to exhibit strong computer skills and at least a basic understanding of design.
Most corporate relations specialists have a bachelor’s degree in public relations. Other areas of study typically include English, writing, journalism, communications and media. Some even have a background as a journalist—either print or broadcast. Occasionally, corporate relations specialists can receive employment with nothing more than an associate’s degree, provided they possess strong writing skills, a sound work ethic and a thorough understanding of their industry.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that jobs for public relations specialists will grow by 24 percent between 2008 and 2018—almost twice as fast as the average for all occupations during the same span. The BLS credits much of that growth to the continued “emergence of social media.”
Salaries for corporate relations specialists largely depend on the industry, although experience and overall duties factor in as well. According to PayScale.com, public relations specialists earned anywhere from $34,000 to more than $53,300 per year as of April 2010. Also, the BLS reported a median annual wage for “salaried” public relations specialists of $51,280 in 2008—slightly higher than the numbers reported by PayScale.