What does a communication specialist do?
Some common tasks for communication specialists are:
- Creating communication and strategic plans to manage the communication between an organization and its public
- Managing relationships with journalists and other media professionals, arranging interviews and responding to media inquiries
- Overseeing an organization’s social media presence, creating content, responding to comments and analyzing performance data to improve communication strategies
- Scheduling events such as press conferences, product launches or community outreach initiatives
- Managing crisis responses, including drafting statements, coordinating with the media and overseeing internal communication
- Distributing company news, organizing staff meetings and maintaining internal communication channels
- Liaising between stakeholders, such as customers, team members, investors and the general public
In real-world terms, communication specialist roles may differ by the type of organization in which they’re employed. For instance, a communication specialist for a large corporation might focus on internal messaging initiatives, such as employee newsletters or training materials, while the same role for a small startup organization might involve developing and overseeing a social media strategy.
Communication specialist vs. public relations specialist
A public relations specialist and a communication specialist have similar roles and overlapping duties, but there are some distinctions between the two.
Both roles require strong writing and communication skills, strategic thinking and the ability to manage multiple projects. However, the main difference lies in their focus. While a communication specialist focuses on the overall communication strategy for an organization and handles a wide range of tasks, a PR specialist focuses more specifically on media relations and public perception.
Skills needed to be a communication specialist
A successful communication specialist balances hard and soft skills. Soft skills are non-technical, interpersonal skills that help you effectively interact with others and navigate workplace challenges.
For a communication specialist, certain soft skills are particularly relevant, including the ability to:
- Clearly convey information
- Ensure you understand what others are communicating
- Adapt to new conditions or changes in the work environment
- Identify rising or ongoing issues and find effective solutions and strategies
Hard skills are technical abilities or knowledge specific to a job or industry that you learn through hard work and hands-on experience.
Some hard skills for this role include:
- Understanding how to interact with and manage the media
- Writing compelling content for various platforms, such as websites, social media or newsletters
- Knowledge of how to manage and optimize social media platforms
- The ability to speak confidently and engagingly in public settings
- The ability to analyze and interpret communication data and metrics
Depending on your role and company, the required skills and responsibilities may vary.