Public relations (PR) is an interdisciplinary field that revolves around influencing the building, maintenance, and restoration of reputation. Methods like issue management, risk and crisis communication, community building and corporate social responsibility are often employed in PR.
PR is essentially a type of communication practice. It involves creating relationships with individuals, businesses and institutions to promote a good image and gain public support.
PR practitioners focus on identifying, building, and sustaining relationships between an organisation and their stakeholders.
For example, the chief role of a Public Relations Officer (PRO) under the Malaysian government is to develop and maintain positive relationships with media, community groups and other constituents through various channels to ensure that the government has self-images that align with public perception.
This role can be filled by professionals who have demonstrated proven abilities in communications, presentation skills and interpersonal skills, as well as effective leadership qualities.
There are several types of public relations activities that organisations may engage in, including:
PR can be valuable for organisations. It helps build and maintain a positive reputation and relationship with their stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and the general public. It can help organisations:
Overall, PR can be valuable for organisations because it can help them effectively communicate with and engage their stakeholders, build and maintain a positive reputation, and shape how the public perceives them.
A public relations degree is an arts degree that focuses on strategic communication and media relations, promoting organisations and businesses.
This degree will provide you with core knowledge in the field of public relations and develop your skills as an effective communicator within an organisation.
To get into a public relations degree programme, you need to meet the entry requirements set by colleges or universities.
For example, to pursue a Degree in Public Relations in Malaysia, one must complete their SPM or equivalent qualification in a pre-university programme.
The general requirements are:
In addition, you’ll also need a minimum of 3 credits in SPM, including English.
Upon graduating from a PR program, you’ll have a range of knowledge and skills related to the communications field. This is achieved via the subjects taken during a PR course.
Here are some of the core subjects one may cover:
In your first year of studying, you will typically be introduced to the fundamentals of communication theory, media writing, and other specialisations such as advertising and marketing.
Later, you will focus more on PR-specific subjects such as crisis management and media relations.
Some universities may also require you to complete industrial training or an internship as part of the degree program. This allows you to gain practical experience and apply your knowledge from the classroom in a real-world setting.
Do you like meeting new people and helping brands grow through different channels? If you have these interests, a degree in public relations might be for you!
To succeed in this field, you must be friendly, sociable, and approachable. You must also be skilled at building relationships with influential people, media personalities, and other brands.
This means attending various events such as product launches, media conferences, and media events. In addition, you must be able to write well because public relations relies on it.
For example, you might be required to frequently curate press releases, engaging social media posts, or compelling emails requesting publicity.
To succeed in a PR programme, you need to develop key skills and qualities such as:
A wide range of industries, including consulting and media, offer employment opportunities for PR graduates.
After graduating, you can pursue the following careers:
Yes. This degree can be worth it if you are interested in communication and media relations. It may also be a good pick if you like a field that involves helping organisations communicate effectively with their stakeholders.
Remember, public relations professionals create and maintain relationships with organisations, media, customers, employees, and investors.
They use multiple communication tools and tactics.
These include press releases, social media, and events to promote the organisation and its products or services and to manage its reputation.
In general, public relations professionals in Malaysia may earn salaries that are similar to other professionals in the communication and marketing field.
According to data from the Malaysia Department of Statistics, the median monthly wage for communication and media professionals in Malaysia was MYR 4,510 (around USD 1,110) in 2020. However, it is imperative to note that this figure is just a general estimate and may not accurately reflect specific PR professionals’ salaries.
It is also worth noting that salary is just one factor to consider when deciding whether or not to pursue a career in public relations.
Other important factors to consider may include your personal interests and skills, the job market in your area, and the potential for professional growth and advancement.
PR can be a rewarding career for those who enjoy working with people, have strong communication skills, and can think creatively and strategically. It can be a fast-paced and dynamic field that requires the ability to adapt quickly to changing situations.
Like any job, public relations can be stressful at times. Professionals are responsible for managing the communication and reputation of an organisation, which can be a high-pressure and fast-paced job.
For example, they may be required to respond to inquiries and requests from the media, stakeholders, and the general public on short notice. They may also need to handle sporadic emergency crisis situations or negative publicity.
However, the stress level experienced by public relations professionals can vary depending on many factors.
For instance, the size and type of organisation they work for, the specific role they hold within the organisation, and their coping mechanisms and work-life balance.
Bachelor’s degrees in public relations, as well as Masters degrees, are offered by several colleges and universities in Malaysia, one of which is UOW Malaysia KDU.
UOW Malaysia KDU Penang University College’s Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Public Relations provides students with in-depth knowledge of communication skills through industrial-based curriculum design.
Overall, the decision to pursue a public relations path will depend on your personal interests and career goals. However, like any other discipline, one can suitably attain the skills necessary to excel in the PR discipline with persistence and intentionality.
Education and Career