Spokesman - who is he and what is his role in the company?

What we often see in the media is a press officer who speaks on behalf of a particular company or organisation at press conferences and answers journalists' questions. In reality, however, his or her responsibilities are much broader. What benefit can a company gain from employing a person like a press officer?

What does a press officer do?

The person in this position should definitely not serve only to provide the media with relevant information. A good press officer co-creates and acts according to a strictly pre-defined communication strategy. In his or her work, the spokesperson performs duties at the intersection of public relations and journalism. Thus, he or she is in charge of liaising with the media, maintaining relations with the public, the organisation's image and creating press materials. It is important that she is able to convey information in a simple and accessible way.

In Poland, spokespeople are often associated with large state institutions or politics, as it is usually excerpts from press conferences of such entities that are widely shared on both social and traditional media. However, the profession is definitely not limited to representing the largest companies and institutions.

Spokesperson versus public relations

As mentioned earlier, spokespersons operate on the borderline of public relations. It can be said that the tasks of the spokesperson and the pr specialist overlap to a large extent. The spokesperson may be part of the public relations structure and perform in his or her work some of the duties that also belong to the PR specialist.

The main difference, however, lies in the representative function. Whereas PR specialists generally work 'behind the scenes' and are supportive of those who are known as the 'faces of the organisation', a spokesperson has all the tasks of representing a brand under their name built into their profession.

Spokesperson and journalism

Spokespersons have to work with the media on a daily basis, so journalistic experience or simply knowledge of the industry is very useful. Such a person should be well acquainted with the media and journalistic working methods, know how the profession works and what information they need.

Writing skills and excellent language skills should not be forgotten either. The spokesperson should use impeccable Polish and be able to edit both short press releases and longer forms.

What qualities should a good press officer have?

The work often requires resilience to stress and composure, which is useful in crisis conditions. In addition to this, the ability to react quickly is important - in many cases, too late or a lack of reaction has a major impact on the final assessment of the situation by those around you.

A trait strongly desired in press officers is charisma. It has a strong influence on the assessment not only of the spokesperson himself, but also indirectly of the entire company he represents. A charismatic spokesperson is not only able to attract the interest of the media, but also has the ability to convey information clearly and concretely. In addition, his or her qualities are verbosity and meeting established deadlines.

What exactly is the job of a press officer?

The duties that a press officer may perform represent a very wide range. Depending on the structure of the company, he or she may be responsible for all of the following tasks or only some of them.

However, defining the purpose of these tasks is very easy: it is to build the image of a professional company both in the industry and among customers. This is done by going out to the media and providing them with information about the functioning of the organisation or institution.

Media monitoring and crisis communication

One of the most important duties of press officers, and a starting point for further activities, is media monitoring. This makes it possible to monitor what mentions of the company appear in the media on an ongoing basis. This is important above all from the point of view of crisis communication - if a situation arises that could quickly escalate into a crisis, the spokesperson takes appropriate steps to counteract it.

Knowing what is happening in the media related to an organisation's industry also helps to build better communication and provide journalists with knowledge and content tailored to their needs.

Ability to create content targeted at the institution's or company's audience

Another group of tasks within the work of a press officer is the creation of various types of content. This can be press releases, newsletters, newsletters, material posted on the company's website and social media. Assigning this duty to the spokesperson gives him or her the opportunity to influence the company's communication and to adapt it to the communication strategy adopted previously.

However, it is also possible to outsource this activity. In many organisations, communication is handled by agencies offering public relations, copywriting, social media or content creation services. They relieve the burden on spokespeople and, once familiar with the brand's strategy, can take care of communication that is perfectly tailored to the client's objectives and needs.

Cooperation with the media

The duties of press officers are overwhelmingly public relations activities. First and foremost, it is constant contact with media representatives in order to establish good relations and to provide the company with publicity. Press releases and materials are a tool to build brand awareness and target relevant messages to target groups.

Activities aimed at the media also include the organisation of conferences or press breakfasts, as well as briefings. These allow for a "face-to-face" meeting with journalists, answering their questions, but also provide media representatives with interesting material that can be used by them.

Spokesperson - internal or external?

A spokesperson can be part of a company or institution, but also act on behalf of a public relations agency. In the case of a person on the organisation's side, he or she usually has full access to information about the place where he or she works and keeps himself or herself informed of any changes. However, it may be more difficult for her to engage with the media - the advantage of professional agencies is that they can provide the media with a variety of content from different clients, making them a valuable partner.

External press officers often boast a wealth of experience, including established and proven contacts and media relations. The person in this position works with a representative from the client's side, appointed to pass on all necessary information and knowledge about the company.

The representative is responsible for final decision-making based on recommendations and general supervision of the spokesperson's work. If the company already uses a public relations agency, the originating spokesperson may liaise with other professionals dealing with the project in question.

Hiring a press officer can bring many benefits to a company. First and foremost - a recognisable, brand-related face that lends credibility to the messages coming from the organisation. He or she is also the person who is always on the lookout for what information about the brand appears in the media and ensures that it is positive as often as possible, which translates into building positive associations among customers