The size, structure, and type of an organization tend to impact
the types of work employees do in ADPR.
Below are common work environments and expectations. For example, people who manage social media might be located in a large social media agency with a job that focuses on media planning, scheduling, posting, and analytics for clients. Or, they might be freelancing and working from home. They may be part of a small (e.g., five-person) full-service ad agency, providing all possible advertising needs for clients, including content creation, graphics, video, print ads, etc. Someone located in an "in-house" marketing department would focus on a single business--the one that employs them. A small in-house department of a business might need one person to handle all advertising and public relations, whereas a large business with many employees might have departments with people focusing on narrower tasks with larger volume. Often freelance teams will form to meet specific needs of clients and become a collaborative organization. Many business models are possible. All of these people work with media-makers, media vendors, and salespeople of all sorts, who also have unique work environments.
PR FIRMS, &
Most ad agencies, PR firms, and digital agencies tend to be small. Therefore, some people "wear many hats," meaning they need a broad base of skills and a quick work pace. This Forbes article notes: "The top types of agency players include the brand-new agency with up to five employees, the mid-size agency of six to 12 employees and the more robust agency of 13 to 25 employees."
Many ADPR professionals work "in-house," meaning they work for a single business. Small businesses, such as a dentist's office, might hire one "in-house" employee to handle all ADPR needs, which means that person would need a broad set of skills. On the other hand, large businesses can afford specialized positions, which means employees can cultivate a more narrow focus.
COLLABORATIONS & FREELANCERS
Freelancers work for themselves (usually from home), taking on jobs that suit their skill sets. They seek out clients and service them on their own. Often a group of freelancers will collaborate to create a virtual or brick-and-mortar organization, working together to serve clients on an ad hoc basis, assembling teams, as needed, to serve particular clients. Some of these groups then become full-service agencies.
Some businesses focus on making media content--for example, video production, web development, app development, animation. They might specialize in particular businesses, such as educational content, sports entertainment, fashion industry, etc., or they might serve a range of industries. Crews for YouTubers, Instagram influencers, and other social media entertainment focus on planning and creating content for a single business.
Students often overlook the world of vendors, who sell products, services, and media to all of these businesses. Everything from an event table-top card to a Netflix commercial is planned and sold by someone.
A broad understanding of media and event planning helps vendors suggest ideas to their clients and/or execute ideas brought to them, in a collaborative way.
Some people in advertising and public relations fields specialize in areas such as media planning, production management, event coordination, etc. These are the people behind the scenes who create schedules, interact with vendors, hold people to deadlines, and troubleshoot. Famous events-gone-wrong, like Fyre Festival and TanaCon could have used more of these planners and managers.
Low Stress or High Energy?
Some people love the fast pace and pressures of a small ad agency, PR firm, digital agency, or event planning business. They enjoy the freedom of wearing many hats and the comradery of working closely with others. They thrive on the pressure of pulling all-nighters to meet an advertising pitch deadline or handle a PR crisis or event debacle. These businesses exist to offer exceptional expertise. For example, ad agencies offer outstanding creative work and/or media services that could not easily be done in-house. PR firms offer expertise in strategic communications utilizing well-established relationships with media outlets and other organizations. Event organizers are hired to pull off perfection. Therefore, high performance standards and special creative skill are typically demanded in these environments. These businesses can gain or lose clients at any moment based on the quality of work they perform and the relationships they maintain.
If such high-energy, performance-driven environments are not for you, an in-house marketing department can be a good alternative. You usually won't have to worry about losing your client (unless your employer goes out of business). Regular work hours are the norm. In-house departments usually handle whatever work they can and job-out special projects to ad agencies and PR firms. When they do "job out" projects, the in-house people coordinate the work between the client and agency, making the demands on others, rather than making the magic themselves.
Going Solo: Lower Stress Environments
Working as a one-person in-house marketing specialist in small businesses can be rewarding because there's only one client (or a few) to handle—i.e., the business you're working for—and expectations for performance vary. A local dental clinic will likely have predictable demands and realistic standards. Many small business owners know little about advertising and public relations, so they will depend on you to set your own standards. At the same time, you may need a wide variety of skills.
Going Solo: Freelancing or Starting Your Own Business
This kind of solo work can be difficult to start up without previous business experience and a cultivated network. And, of course, starting a business is not usually a low-stress affair. However, many media freelancers establish themselves in a comfortable niche where they have learned to produce outstanding work efficiently and utilize their networks to keep work flowing in.
Advertising and Public Relations fields are so broad and multifaceted that students with a wide range of interests can find places to flourish.