Entry-level public relations hires currently earn an average salary of $32,761, while that sum quickly increases as they earn the next step up the career ladder where they’ll net an average of $44,353 a year until experience and demonstrated accmplishments bounce that number to $100,000 and more, according to salary surveys for the profession. In fact, PR agency personnel average $91,000 a year, while corporate communications professionals average $121,000. Since you’re likely seeking a job in this rewarding field, you’ll need to become comfortable with latest technological tools that increasingly are required if you wish to advance your career to six-figure levels.
Media Contact List Databases
Even tech-savvy public relations firms often continue to get their best results from delivering good old-fashioned pitches to media contacts. But before you can deliver a pitch or deploy newer high-tech PR tools, you need a contact list. Several important resources can help you build one.
Top media database providers include Cision, FeaturesExec, Gorkana, MyMediaInfo, PR Newswire’s MEDIAtlas, and Vocus. If you need a shoestring budget alternative to these services, you can build a database by using resources such as Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, HARO, FlackList, and Muck Rack.
Online Press Release Tools
Today, most press release distribution occurs online, so your releases will often be subject to Google’s policies. This summer, many online press release distributors scrambled to avoid getting their clients’ search engine rankings penalized by new Google changes discouraging optimized anchor text. As a PR professional, you will need to be aware of tools that can get your announcements good distribution on Google.
An increasing number of students and young professionals are enrolled in the rapidly expanding digital and social media courses offered by many colleges and universities, while others are enrolling in online computer and IT degree programs. But even without seeking specialized computer knowledge, there are a couple steps you should take to keep pace with the competition.
First, you should keep up with the latest search engine optimization changes and how these affect press releases. A good place to start is by reading Google’s own Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.
Second, although Google does discourage over-optimized use of anchor text in press releases, correct keyword usage remains important, so you need a good keyword tool if you’re going to do online publicity. The most essential resource you need to be familiar with is Google Keyword Planner, which recently replaced Google’s Keyword Tool.
Other resources help you distribute your press releases online. Premium distribution services include Business Wire, Marketwire and PR Newswire, among others. Many free services are also available, but their pros and cons generally make it more cost-effective for PR professionals to stick to premium services.
Reputation Monitoring Resources
Warren Buffett said it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to lose it. Online reputations can be lost even more quickly, so today’s PR pro needs to know about online reputation monitoring resources.
Google Alerts and Google Autocomplete can help you gather information about how your client’s reputation is faring on Google. MonitorThis performs a similar function for 20 different search engine feeds. Tools such as Tweet Scan do the same thing for Twitter, while services such as Klout and Social Mention keep you updated with information from a broad range of social media.
Linda Allen is a public relations specialist with Bluefire PR who covers business, banking and finance.