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Two PR Managers talking and laughing
What's it really like to be a Public Relations Manager?

Public relations (PR) can be a much hyped and stereotyped industry, painting a picture of a whirlwind life full of celebrities, parties and positive-to-negative spin. In real life, a career in PR could mean working for consultancies, in government and education, or in health and sport. It’s an innovative field where inspiring communication and media campaigns capture the interest of the public and build relationships with all manner of organisations.

To get an up-to-date insight into what it’s like working in PR, we asked real-life Jerry Maguire and Media and PR Manager at the Geelong Cats Football Club, Stacey Oates, to share some inside info on her role

What study is required to become a PR manager?

‘I graduated secondary school in Geelong in 2008 before starting at Deakin University in 2009. I studied a Bachelor of Arts (Public Relations) at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus for three years before beginning my role at the Geelong Cats in 2012.’

Do you have to be a good writer to succeed as a PR manager?

‘Yes, I personally think you need to be a strong writer to succeed in PR. We are professional communications, so your writing needs to be at a high standard. I have had a number of interns work with me over the last few years and the first thing I always like to do is get an idea of their writing skills.’

What skills do you need to be a good PR manager?

‘You have to be a good communicator ­– whether that be writing, on the phone or in person. Another key skill of PR is the ability to form and foster strong working relationships, which are beneficial to your organisation. Relationship building is something I see as the most important part of PR and communications.’

Is PR always exciting?

‘It is always different. I wouldn’t say it’s always exciting because all jobs have their ups and their downs. PR and the world of media and communications always throws up something different, there is no day the same. That is one of the best things about what I do.’

'Relationship building is something I see as the most important part of PR and communications.'

Stacey Oates,
Media and PR Manager, Geelong Cats Football Club

Where are you most likely to work and who do you work with as a PR manager?

‘PR professionals have a great deal of options. You’ve got in-house or agency PR as a starting point. Working in-house for the Geelong Cats, I work with most teams across the organisation from our playing group and coaches to our community development and commercial teams. As media manager for the club, I also work closely with external media on a daily basis.’

How has social media and the web changed a PR manager’s role?

‘Social media and the web has come along in leaps and bounds and will only become larger in years to come. Which is why nowadays PR professionals need to be savvy in these areas to further their careers and keep up with the profession. At the football club, our social media accounts and website are often the way we communicate key announcements to our members and fans.’

Is the stereotype of being a spin doctor true?

‘PR is about communicating effectively and strategically to an organisation’s key stakeholders and the public. Personally I don’t like the term ‘spin doctor’ and think the stereotype is less prevalent.’

What sort of growth is there in the job once you’ve become a PR manager?

‘A great deal. There are so many paths a PR professional can take, whether it be media, communications, social media or marketing. There are options for new challenges and learning whilst staying within the same vocation.’

What do you like most about being a PR manager?

‘One of the most satisfying parts of my job is opening the paper or turning on the news and seeing a good news story about the Cats. That’s when I know I’ve done my job well!’

Interested in pursuing a career in PR management? Consider studying a Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations) at Deakin.

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