ADPR FIELDS & CAREERS
Students in the field of Communication get a quicker job footing in their fields, on average, than those in most other majors, including business and marketing—according to this CNBC report.
"Creative Director" is one of the top-paying jobs in the U.S, according to this Glassdoor study.
What are advertising and public relations, really?
Advertising and public relations (ADPR) are collectively referred to as "strategic communication." They are the promotional arms of a brand organization. ADPR professionals communicate purposefully to fulfill an organization's mission, using digital media, traditional media, and in-person communication.
For example, the purpose of an advertisement might be to sell a product, thereby increasing profits within a strategic plan. The purpose of a press release might be to raise awareness of a cause, thereby increasing donations to fulfill a mission. All of this work requires knowledge of media skills, marketing principles, client communication, and communication research to develop effective messages for chosen audiences.
Advertising. Advertising delivers memorable messages that build awareness of brands and causes, change behavior or beliefs, and persuade people to take new actions. The message might be to eat healthier foods, support a nonprofit organization, vote for a particular candidate, or buy a particular product or service. Creating a social media or magazine ad might be one way to do this. Producing a website might be another. Etc.
Public relations. PR professionals communicate with a wide range of groups to meet an organization's goals. They help companies and individuals cultivate a positive image, facilitate change, manage crises, and meet a wide range of other objectives. Rather than using overtly promotional language, public relations uses the language of news. Let's say the client is Apple. It's a big company that needs constant communication with the public, customers, employees, investors, analysts, stakeholders, government officials, and many other individuals and organizations. Communication with difference audiences is the job of a public relation professional. Writing a press release about a new product and sending it to various online and print media sources would be a PR task. Announcing the news to employees would be another. Speaking to the media would be a third. Etc. FOr more information, see Brock Communications' explanations of public relations and media examples.
What is "digital media?"
It might be obvious that digital media involves the signals and data expressed in a series of zeros and ones (001011101010). The technologies and content utilizing this code are referred to as "digital." In this broad sense, all media we use in ADPR jobs is digital, including video, print, social media, apps, games, websites, etc. Even MS Office is "digital," but use of this software is considered to be a very basic skill.
Specifically, Within Communication Fields:
You will often hear the term "digital media" used specifically in Communication fields to reference:
online media technologies (websites, social media, game environments, apps, streaming platforms, etc.),
the digital content generated on those technologies (e.g. videos, still images, games, blog posts, etc.)
data collection, analysis, and application (e.g., using Google Analytics, social media "insights," etc.).
What is "content creation?"
A professional content creator conceptualizes and creates content that is published across variety of digital platforms (e.g., social media, web, mobile) to meet an organization's goals. The content might include video, still images, animation, audio, games, polls, etc. User-generated content, in general, is referred to as UGC.
What is "social media marketing" (SMM)?
Social media marketing engages users of social media with strong content, in order to meet promotional goals. Such goals might be to raise brand awareness, drive more website traffic, enhance customer relations, launch a new product or service, target new customers, grow market share, enter a new market, increase purchases/donations, or increase loyalty and advocacy.
Success is measured by tracking key measurements (called "metrics") through sources such as Google Analytics, social media "insights," and other tools. Key metrics that correlate to goals are called "key performance indicators" (KPIs) and may include such data as number of visitors, percentage of new visitors, number of shares, number of page views, time on site, bounce rates, goal conversion rates, etc.
What is "content marketing?"
Content marketing provides content of perceived value to users and entices them to engage with the company's media (for example, websites, social media platforms, etc). Some of the most powerful forms of content are videos and blogs (articles written by individuals to promote the organization by offering information of value to an audience). Others include infographics, case studies, quizzes, eBooks, white papers, newsletters, etc. Users engage with this content because it is valuable to them in some way--for example, it solves a problem or entertains them. By engaging with this content, the user ultimately takes a journey that ends with an action that meets an organization's goals (e.g., sharing content to raise awareness; purchasing a product or donating to a cause; etc.). A "journey map" imagines that journey and designs a user's experience engaging with the organization.
Where Advertising & Public Relations Overlap and Separate
Communications fields overlap.
For example, social media can be foundational to advertising, public relations, and countless other fields. Websites, mobile apps, search engine optimization (SEO), and other digital media works are similarly widespread across fields. Online platforms require an endless stream of content creation, such as video, graphics, and text. Content creation is essential to advertising and public relations. Account executives are liaisons between clients and the groups providing services, such as creative advertising teams, public relations teams, and media agencies. Agency account executives manage the client account, propose work, gain approvals, and manage advertising budgets. One of their most important jobs of an account executive is to explain creative choices to clients so that they understand the intended messages and anticipated results. All of this work requires business and marketing knowledge. The Advertising and Public Relations Major (ADPR) can lead to these and other careers.
Where Advertising and PR Separate
Some areas of advertising and public relations don't tend to overlap. In advertising, for example, creative directors, art directors, and copywriters are usually the central "creatives," overseeing graphic designers and other media makers. Public relations professionals, on the other hand, use the language of news to share information strategically for the benefit of a client. Rather than sounding "promotional," they strive to be "newsworthy" and build credibility with their audiences. They may specialize in publicity, social media engagement, crisis management, event planning, media relations, or organizational communication.
How to Combine Your Interests
ADPR skills can also be combined with outside interests, such as sports, health and fitness, entertainment, fashion, politics, culture, technology, etc. For example, a student interested in politics and strategic communication might run for office or become a community organizer. A fitness buff might pursue "health communications" as a career and focus on social media to become an influencer. A student interested in business and art might pursue creative advertising. Additionally, many fields utilize the strategic communication skills learned in the ADPR major, including law, government, publishing, teaching, sales, administration, and many more.
Starting Your Own Business Many students become ADPR majors because they ultimately want to start their own businesses. Tools in marketing, communications, branding, graphics, publicity, and media can be key to launching new brands and creating financial independence.
What skills will I need?
The ADPR program provides a wide range of foundational skills for all fields, plus three concentration options, and flexible electives. These courses prepare students for a broad scope of opportunities upon graduation. A description of the three concentration options explains skills in each.
How will I acquire the skills?
ADPR majors typically acquire their skills through coursework, internships, club activities, mentorships, tours, special projects, and speakers. Then, students continue to cultivate their professions on the job after graduation.
See the ADPR program description, It shows the required coursework and electives for each concentration.
Juniors and seniors with GPAs of 3.0 or above qualify for credit-earning internships. ADPR juniors and seniors are advised to plan at least 1-2 internships before graduation if possible. These experiences can provide invaluable skills and contacts leading to professional opportunities. See opportunities for internships and jobs.
Clubs and Organizations
See the list of ADPR clubs and organizations, including the students' Spartan Agency, which is a real agency taking on real clients. Clubs include the Public Relations Society of America (student chapter), the Student Advertising Club, and The American Marketing Association (student chapter).
Mentorships, Tours, Special Projects, & Speakers
Personal mentorships allow students to "shadow" professionals in their daily lives or receive other forms of personal guidance. Media tours introduce students to top agencies on Tampa Bay, to talk with agency principals and learn about the businesses' inner workings. Some faculty offer special projects to students, working one-on-one. Speakers bring professional knowledge to students.