Freelance Public Relations Writing as a Full-Time or Part-Time Job
Businesses and individuals use public relations for many purposes, but the primary purpose is to generate free publicity either locally, nationally or globally for a product, service or brand. Freelance writers who provide PR services must not only know how to write engaging and persuasive copy, but they also must know how to market the product, service or brand which the press release is talking about.
Common PR Tasks
Public relations is not for beginning writers because it is a more complex form of writing copy that generates publicity and not reader fanfare. Freelance PR involves writing press releases, press materials for press kits, news releases, speeches and so on. A client may also task you with assembling traditional PR campaigns and marketing campaigns, as well as combining traditional PR with social media.
Common Skills for a PR Writer
If you desire to focus on freelance public relations as a career, then you need to develop a mixed bag of skills. This usually includes developing: 1) superb writing skills, 2) an interest for offline and online marketing, 3) competent computer skills (for creating PowerPoint presentations and marketing materials with visuals), and 4) a charismatic personality to handle inquiries from clients as well as inquiries from the media. If you lack any one of these skills, or wish to focus on some but not all skills, then you can outsource such “special” tasks to other qualified freelancers. The more skills that you develop, then the more income you can earn.
Regular Public Relations Jobs
Every business, no matter how large or small, publicly traded or private, hires freelance PR pros, including non-profits and individuals. Ad agencies and media firms are well-known examples. Additionally, federal and state government agencies and disease research organizations constantly hire PR writers. Book authors, inventors, business entrepreneurs, art galleries, charities, and medical centers also add to the endless supply of prospective clients that need public relations.
Because of the non-stop demand for public relations, you can easily find freelance jobs in this area. Browse through popular job sites like CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com and CraigsList.org. You can always find new PR gigs at outsourcing job sites like Freelancer.com and Upwork.com where individuals and companies seek the services of PR writers.
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Pay Rates for Public Relations Services
Rates vary widely, based on the public relations work that the client wants you to do. PR work embodies numerous “sub-jobs,” and for this reason, each client may have different duties that he may ask you to handle. A client who needs PR services may want you to create employee communications (such as in-house newsletters), or assemble a national marketing campaign before the holiday season, or hire you to write, copy edit and distribute a series of press releases. You and your client will need to set specific goals and outcomes to verify if the publicity campaign has achieved the desired results.
You can still specialize in an area or industry while pitching yourself as a “jack-of-all-trades” PR writer. Average pay rates for PR writers with 1-5 years of experience range between $20 and $40 per hour. Seasoned PR pros with more than five years of experience can earn from $60/hour and up. Project rates and retainer fees are more common payment methods. Instead of charging hourly, you can estimate a flat fee to do the project. Instead of a flat fee, you may want a retainer fee in which you establish an ongoing monthly budget for the client for ongoing PR work. In some special cases it may be advantageous to charge a day rate to accommodate sub-jobs like travelling, interviewing people, research, etc. Seasoned PR pros who handle complex, highly-sensitive tasks do command day rates from $300 to $1000 per day. As your grow your cadre of satisfied PR clients, you can steadily increase your fees to match your skill-set and experience.
How to Respond to a Job Ad
The way in which you reply to a job ad depends on who the prospective client is, what he wants you to do, and what results he expects you to achieve. If a local beauty pageant were seeking a PR writer, then obviously you’d price them a much smaller fee than you would a global computer chip manufacturer.
To respond in the best way possible, review these tips:
1. Define yourself as a very competent and expert PR writer.
2. Guarantee the client that you can deal with each task that he has mentioned in the job ad.
3. Speak about how former clients have praised your work.
Having previous experience will help you land more lucrative PR jobs. Nonetheless, if you have yet to land your first PR job remember that you can showcase any relevant job experience and skills that the prospective client may find beneficial. For instance, suppose you wrote online content that generated a lot of website traffic for an online business. Although it is not technically classified as public relations work, it does demonstrate your ability to generate positive publicity.
Sample Job Ad
Here is a mockup job ad seeking a PR writer for an upcoming project. How would you respond to it?
We are a large software manufacturer that needs a PR writer for a series of press releases to publicize the launch of our new storage chips for mobile devices. Our goal is to be positioned above our competitors within our market and to extend our reach to new businesses and grow sales. We require you to write new marketing materials, create a presentation slideshow, and write three press releases a month about our new products and services.
Second, focus on each of the client’s tasks. If you have pertinent experience and happy former clients, talk about it here. If not, concentrate on how strong your skills are.First, inform the prospective client that you are very interested in this project. The company is seeking a competent PR writer to re-invigorate their marketing and publicity initiatives to launch a new product, thus you need to showcase yourself as a spirited, enthusiastic person.
These are the basic steps to reply to a job ad that excites you. Convincing the prospective client to hire you is sometimes trivial but showing confidence and proving your worth will separate you from your competitors.
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