What does a Publicist do?

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  • Originally Written By: Dana Hinders
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
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  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2018
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The main job of any publicist is to manage and promote a client’s image. When it comes to movie stars and other celebrities, the job mostly involves personal brand management, which often includes creating hype about upcoming films or working to get ad sponsorships or other promotions. Many companies and private businesses also have publicists. The job of these professionals is similar in theory, but different in practice. Most of their work involves crafting press releases, pitching news stories about key achievements, and working with marketing staff to design advertisements and commercials.

Promotion Work

People and companies hire publicists to improve their image in the public eye. The day-to-day specifics of what a publicist does depends a lot of the setting, but promotion is almost always the central duty.

Publicists network constantly with journalists and marketing executives to ensure that their client’s name stays in headlines and news reports. He or she also keeps on top of any developments or advancements with a client’s business or personal life, and may act as the official spokesperson in the face of the media or other attention.


Damage Control

Much of the job also involves deflecting negative news, and making light of bad situations. If a pharmaceutical company’s newest drug is found to be dangerous, for instance, a publicist will try to mitigate the bad press, and will look for positive angles. The same is true for celebrities convicted of drunk driving, or who are experiencing troubles in their personal lives. A good publicist will try to keep the public’s attention on other things, such as career highs or new film or music releases.

Online Image Management

A lot of publicists today do substantial work online, often managing social networking accounts and monitoring blog posts. News outlets and gossip columns increasingly look to the Internet for news that is breaking, or “trending,” and in many cases, a well-timed post or network update can be the difference between the evening news and virtual oblivion. The best publicists understand both how to use online technology, and how to leverage it to a client’s advantage.

Work Schedule

While some publicists work a standard 8-hour workday, most find that regular weekend and evening work is necessary. This is particularly true where work with celebrities is concerned, as a lot can happen over nights and weekends that publicists need to stay abreast of. Publicists are often expected to travel to attend meetings or deliver presentations about a client’s activities, as well.

Required Training

Competition for publicist jobs is generally fierce, particularly when it comes to high-profile clients. Most of the time, professionals expect to start working at the bottom rungs of industry, and eventually build up to more glamorous positions.

Even for entry-level work, a college degree is essential. Most employers prize backgrounds in marketing, business, or advertising, and prior work within these fields is also usually an asset — particularly if it means a new hire has already established a list of valuable contacts. Full-time work experience is usually the most desirable, but internships and part-time work while in school can also be beneficial.


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Discuss this Article

Post 16

I have had the joy to meet and work with Helen Grant. She is easily one of the best in the business -

Post 15

How does Realtor create a relationship with a PR firm and or publicist in case they have a client looking for high end properties.

Post 14

I too was looking for a publicist but my issue was I needed to feel comfortable with this person and they needed to be trustworthy, I chose this lady who I had worked with indirectly for several years. she is always on point. my hat is off to Brenda Gunter.

James Williams
Post 12

I'm a 20 year old author and motivational speaker and was looking for a publicist to help with the work of setting up a tour for Kamerian Warriors?

Post 11

I have had my share of publicists and what most of them do is simply take you money lol. Then I ran across a really good one- her name is Monique Tatum and she books my radio and tv appearances, sets up speaking arrangements for me at schools and advises me on my marketing direction. for years I did not know the answer to this question until I met her.

Post 9

I am interested in finding a publicist for my daughter. She is a great dancer and needs to showcase her talent.

Post 8

Please can you link me up with a PR company where i can do an internship because i intend to start my own company soon.

Post 4

To answer the two questions above: there are many independent publicists who do freelance work. You can research PR companies, or find them through social networking sites.I am a freelance publicist myself. Hope this helps! Siana Brennick.

Post 3

how do i get a publicist for my business?

Post 1

How to go about getting a publicist for an emerging artist? Joyce Chambers

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