So what exactly does a being a publicist entail? And who are these mysterious people pulling all the strings?
Public relations agencies and publicists are in charge of the publicizing, promoting, advertising, and marketing of their clients, who range from entertainers to large corporations. A publicist’s duties can include designing publicity campaigns, creating press kits, writing press releases and biographies, creating advertisements, networking, and setting up interviews with the media. Their main function, though, is to maintain and create publicity for their clients. If an unflattering photo of a Hollywood superstar is published, the publicist is the first one to be blamed. In essence, publicists are the keepers of a client’s image.
Publicists can work alone or at large public relations firms with thousands of employees — it’s simply a matter of prerogative. Publicists who work alone typically have a smaller client list and closer relationships with their clients. Publicists who work for larger firms have long client lists and greater resources at their fingertips due to larger revenues. Either way, the job is basically the same: managing the public personas of their clients.
The best way to fast-track your way into a lucrative publicist position is to get a degree in communications or marketing and take a low-paying position at a large firm while you learn the ropes. There is no substitute for experience, and there is no better way to gain experience than by observing the best in the business. After a getting few good years under your belt, you can hopefully either move up in rank or branch out on your own. If you do decide to branch out on your own, you will need to market yourself to garner business, and it might just be a good idea to hire — you guessed it — a publicist! Like Allure magazine said in a recent issue, “We all need publicists. You’re nowhere unless you’ve got a publicist, and your publicist is nowhere unless he can glom onto a celebrity who uses his services.”