What Does A Publicist Really Do? An Inside Look Into This Profession

Emily Bright

We chose our platform's name, Publicist, for a reason. We wanted to give the marketing and communications industry a space for talent and clients to be carefully paired to produce quality work. But who is actually the publicist in this situation?

A publicist is someone who communicates a brand's message to the public through the media. Another name for a publicist is a public relations specialist. So for our purposes, a publicist is equivalent to the talent on our platform. Chances are if your business is ready for a public relations push, it's also ready for a strong publicist.

A publicist works with a brand to decide how the messages will be delivered, how they will be conveyed, and how they will be consumed. A publicist manages the brand's publicity, spanning from press releases to speeches to blog posts, among many other forms of media. Journalists will then cover a publicist's client by word of a press release, which is the most useful platform for publicists to push out a brand's message and developments.

People at press release conference

Publicists can work for a variety of clients in many industries, ranging from big name brands and publications like The New Yorker to powerful Hollywood names to smaller niche businesses. The beauty of being a publicist is having the flexibility to see the ins and outs of all industries. You are able to work your way up to a brand you feel emotionally connected to and passionate about.

What kind of skills does a publicist have? The strongest trait of a publicist is being the master of communications. Freelance publicists have the ability to incorporate creativity and flexibility into their work, making the talent even more individualized. Here are a few tips for aspiring publicists to enhance their careers.

Polish up your writing skills

Writing is the key to all communications success. A good pitch starts from a good writer, and a good advertisement stems for a skilled copywriter. As a publicist, you will need to be able to use your work to persuade others to believe in and support your brand. A publicist must be able to write well in every step of the process, ranging from press releases blog posts to social media captions.

Journalist writing at a conference

Be able to handle competition

Part of the role of a publicist is differentiating the brand you are representing from competitors. Your job is to make your brand memorable and desirable to consumers, to attract them into choosing your brand over another. You must have a tough skin when working with competitors and focusing on your brand's strengths.

Master your interpersonal skills

Being a publicist means that you will be interacting with many clients, and you need to establish these strong relationships in order to be successful. Media coverage is the name of the game, and knowing how to speak professionally and warmly is important in gaining good press.

Organization is key

Being a successful publicist means balancing different tasks all at once. As the mastermind behind the brand's message, it is important to stay organized and aligned with the brand's mission. Keeping track of deadlines and release dates are vital skills in the PR and marketing world.

A publicist being organized with a calendar and agenda

Build up your portfolio

Have a portfolio ready to submit while applying for new jobs to establish your credibility. Be sure to highlight your successful PR pushes, your strong content creation, your creative work, and anything else that will make you a desirable candidate. An organized and appealing portfolio will show clients that you are the best choice for representing their brand.

Know your target audience

Publicizing a lifestyle brand's image is very different than spreading the word about a publishing company. Know what people and companies will be receptive to your specific brand and its message, and strive to deliver strong PR pushes for that target audience. For example, if you are working for Apple, you'll want your brand to be featured in tech magainzes and publications. If you are working for a new type of blender, you'll want to be featured in food magazines like Bon Appetit.

Come prepared

Do research on your client before your first meeting. Showing that you took the time to learn about the brand and its message shows that you are professional, dedicated, and ready to work. Understanding your client's background, goals, strengths, and image will only help you produce better work from the start. First impressions are everything.

For those of you who have a passion for writing but also want to work in the corporate world, a publicist career is the perfect fit for you.