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What is corporate communications?

At a glance

  • Corporate communications consist of the actions companies take to effectively communicate with audiences to share messaging and elevate brand reputation and perception.
  • Corporate communications can include internal and external communication, brand management, and reputation and crisis messaging.
  • Careers in marketing, public relations (PR) and crisis management are potential fields to consider if you’re interested in corporate communications.
  • Enhance your business skills, including communication and strategy, with an online business degree at University of Phoenix!

Corporate communications refer to the strategies organizations deploy to share key messaging with its stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, media and the wider public. It encompasses internal and external communication aimed at promoting the company’s brand, reputation and objectives.

Corporate communications include a range of activities, such as:

  1. Internal communication: The communication within an organization that’s crucial for maintaining a positive workplace culture and employee engagement. Internal communication can take various forms, such as staff meetings, newsletters and intranet portals.
  2. External communication: The communication between a company, the general public and stakeholders outside the organization. Often referred to as public relations (PR), external communication may include media relations, press releases, press conferences, corporate websites, annual reports and advertising.
  3. Brand communication: The promotion of a company’s brand and products to potential customers, which typically includes marketing campaigns, product launches, social media marketing, advertising and promotion, and sponsorships.
  4. Reputation management: The process of building and maintaining a company's positive public image. Reputation management usually involves monitoring and controlling the company’s online and offline presence and addressing negative publicity in a timely and effective manner.
  5. Crisis communication: The strategy a company adopts in response to an emergency. It is essential for any communication team to develop a proactive and well-prepared crisis plan to minimize potential damage to the company’s reputation and ensure the right message is expressed to relevant stakeholders.

To function, corporations must avoid breakdowns in communication. For this reason, many have corporate communication teams that streamline communication between internal and external audiences.

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What skills are needed in corporate communications?

To excel in corporate communications, a professional needs to have clear speaking and writing skills as well as creative thinking, critical thinking, and excellent organizational and research abilities. A communication professional may also need advanced writing and editing skills, digital skills such as social media management and more.

Corporate communications encompass multiple careers, from marketing to crisis management. While all these career paths are related, there are nuances that cater to individualized skills and interests.

Corporate communication careers

The broad field of corporate communications covers the roles within a company that focus on internal and external messaging. Some career paths within corporate communications are:

  • Public relations: A career in PR involves generating earned media and sharing messaging to present the company in a positive way to the general public. Responsibilities can include writing press releases, managing media inquiries, organizing interviews and more. Job titles can include communication specialist and media relations specialist. 
  • Marketing: Marketing involves managing the relationship between a company and its customers and potential customers. Marketing professionals may handle social media, website content and local marketing strategies. Job titles may include copywriter or editor. 
  • Crisis management and communication: Crisis communication experts are charged with handling emergencies for a company and ensuring that accurate information is released to employees and the public. Media relations specialists on PR teams often help manage crisis communication. 
  • Internal communication systems: Internal communication includes emails, memos and other materials that are distributed from management to employees. Communication specialists and copywriters can also work in internal-facing positions. 

Each of these roles requires the communication professional to work with a different target audience. However, the jobs share a similar set of skills. All hinge on clear, concise messaging that can sway emotions, capture and retain the attention of other people, and influence behavior.

How to launch a career in corporate communications

A career in corporate communications can begin by earning a relevant degree or certificate, gaining professional experience and applying for open positions. As you begin your journey to become a corporate communication professional, you will gain more insight into what specific career you are most interested in.

Earn a degree

The first step toward succeeding in corporate communications is earning a degree. You can earn a bachelor’s degree in business to better understand the needs of the corporations you will one day work for.

Your degree can be specialized by earning certificates or taking courses in communication, marketing or writing. These experiences help lay a strong foundation in such skills as critical thinking, messaging and creativity.

Gain professional experience

Professional experience shows future employers you have the skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. Many students and new communication professionals gain work experience through internships, part-time jobs, contract work or entry-level, full-time employment for smaller companies.

Once you have demonstrated strong communication skills, you can leverage this experience to apply for employment in a larger corporate environment if that’s part of your career goals.

Learn useful skills in communication

If you already have a degree but want to shift your professional focus into corporate communications, learning specific skills used in the industry often can help show future employers that you hold the specialized knowledge needed in this field.

Some skills that would be helpful in corporate communications are:

  • Social media management: This teaches students how to manage a company’s social media account, understand analytics and create a social media strategy.
  • Digital marketing: Learning about digital marketing may cover information about social media marketing, but it will also delve into how all aspects of the internet can be used to market a company.
  • Copywriting: This teaches students how to write materials for public consumption. This can include blog posts, web copy, email marketing and social media posts.

These specific tools can help you grow your skill set and potentially stand out in the hiring process.

Another avenue for aspiring corporate communication employees is to join a professional association. Media and communication specialists may opt to join the Public Relations Society of America, the nation’s leading communication community. The American Marketing Association, American Communication Association and Social Media Association are other options worth considering. 

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Search for a job

Once you have earned your degree and begun to gain relevant work experience, you can begin looking for a job in corporate communications. As you look for a job, be sure to showcase your writing abilities in a well-crafted cover letter. Also be sure to highlight your education, including degrees and certificates, on your resumé.

You may also want to put together a portfolio of your written work, including social media captions, emails, press releases and marketing materials. This can show your potential employers what kinds of projects you have handled and the caliber of work you can produce.

Is becoming a corporate communication professional right for you?

Becoming a corporate communication professional is a rewarding career path for many people, but it’s not for everybody. The job requires writing and speaking with other people on a regular basis. Corporate communication professionals need to be clear and confident communicators.

As you explore your career options, consider whether your passions and skills are in line with what is required of a corporate communication professional. If so, you can begin down this path for a rewarding, long-term career.

Business degrees at University of Phoenix

If you’re interested in corporate communications, earning a bachelor’s degree in business is a good place to start. Business degree programs at the University of Phoenix teach skills such as leadership, communication, management and operations.

  • Bachelor of Science in Business with a Marketing Certificate —In this program, you’ll learn how to differentiate products and win consumers’ hearts and minds.
  • Bachelor of Science in Communication — This degree equips you with speaking and writing skills that can make you an asset in any organization — especially as a writer, reporter, public relations specialist or other communication professional.
  • Bachelor of Science in Business — This program prepares students for management roles in a variety of organizations. Gain a solid foundation in core business concepts while customizing your degree with a certificate in analytics, entrepreneurship or other specialized area.


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